The fourth graders at Highfalls Elementary School gathered in the auditorium for their celebratory Assembly at the end of the Pet Responsibility Program. They were joined by four very special guests who had an important story to tell which reinforced everything the students had learned during the program. Guest speaker, Karen McCollom, shared the story of Sam, a very special horse. She told the students how guest speaker Dr Tom Daniel of Southern Pines Equine Associates, had been contacted by Animal Services about a horse who had turned up in someone’s yard and was voraciously eating all he could find. He was wearing a horse blanket. When they removed it, he was skin and bone with his mane falling out from malnutrition. Dr Daniel explained how Animal Services should be called whenever an animal is in distress like this one. Guest speaker Animal Services Deputy David Myrick would be the one who would answer any calls for help in the Highfalls area. Dr Daniel told the students how he examined the horse and contacted a local horse rescuer who took the horse to her farm. She, in turn, asked her friend, Karen McCollom if she would nurse the horse back to health while they found him a new home. Karen showed the students before and after photos of the horse she ended up naming Sam. In a very short while, she realized how special Sam was and decided that his forever home was with her. He was restored to his former beauty and fitness and Karen now rides him in competitions. In fact, Karen and Sam had just won a competition the past Sunday . It was held locally and Dr Daniel actually presented the trophy to them! The fourth special guest was Sam himself! He was waiting outside the school for the students to meet! Between all the speakers, they let the students know that it takes a network of people to save an animal but it all begins with just one phone call to Animal Services or one action of speaking up for an animal in need. The fourth graders who wrote entries for the Speuter Story Contest proved their concern for pets by speaking up for those who have no voice. Amber, Fernando, Jeremiah, Kendall, Nickolas and Zoey were all winners and were awarded framed certificates by the PRC Mascot, Speuter. Because of their efforts, Aurora, Bella, Patches, Champ and Spot will be spayed or neutered to help prevent over-population. Jeremiah and his family often spay or neuter stray cats who turn up on their property. They will use Jeremiah’s award for one of the cats. Family members who attended the Assembly and the guest speakers were very impressed by how much the students knew about being responsible pet owners. Congratulations to all the Highfalls fourth graders for being part of the team that makes life better for all pets!