|It's important to teach kids about being kind to animals|
Recently, a fellow Therapy Dog handler and I were asked to speak to a local Girl Scout troop about how to properly care for pets and about how Therapy Dogs help people. The girls were about 10 years old.
|We talked to the girls about how Therapy Dogs help kids improve reading skills|
** "Does your dog help blind people cross the street?" We said no and explained the difference between a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog. I told them about the volunteer work Icy and I do as a Therapy Dog team like Children Reading to Dogs and College Stress Busters.
** There were lots of questions about how they can convince their parents to let them have a dog! It sparked some really fun conversation when we asked them to think about what they thought was stopping their parents from saying Yes to a dog. Apparently, none of them want to clean up a dog's poop, which I'm guessing is a key reason for their parents' reluctance! We explained why it's important to clean up after your dog.
** "How do you know if a dog is sick?" and "What do you do when a dog gets sick?" We asked them how their mom knows they are sick, other than telling her so, and explained that a sick dog has many of the same signs as a sick kid; vomiting, diarrhea, or not wanting to get up and play. We discussed the importance of taking your dog to the Vet quickly if he looks sick.
** I was talking about the responsibilities of owning a dog and got around to discussing that a shelter or rescue is a great place to get a dog because it saves a life. I talked about puppy mills, how they are hurtful to animals, and why people want to Adopt not Shop. Suddenly, one of the girls raised her hand and asked "Is (she named a specific puppy store in our town) a puppy mill?? I wasn't prepared for a question like that, I really had to think about the appropriate way to respond!
I explained the difference between a puppy mill breeder and a puppy store, and that many people believe puppy stores sell a lot of mill puppies. I didn't want to make any kind of accusatory statement about the specific puppy store, that wouldn't be right and could land me in a world of hurt!
|The Bideawee animal shelter invited us to speak with a local Girl Scout troop about Therapy Dog work and responsible pet care|
I told the girls I couldn't say whether or not a specific puppy store bought their puppies from puppy mills but that many of them do. That's why it's a great idea to get a puppy or dog from a shelter or rescue and save a life. The girls seemed to understand and agree with that. Whew!
|We talked to the kids about how Adopting vs. Shopping can save a shelter pet's life!|
NOTE: We were not permitted to take photos of the children for privacy reasons.
Have you ever talked with a group of kids about animals? What points would you stress when talking with kids about caring for animals? Please leave us a comment & share, we love when you bark back!