The fourth graders at West End Elementary School gathered in the media center for their celebration at the end of the Pet Responsibility Program. They were joined by five very special guests who had an important story to share which reinforced all the students had learned during the program. Guest speaker, Dr Tom Daniel of Southern Pines Equine Associates, told the story of how he 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. Guest speakers Chief Deputy Frank Rodriguez and Animal Services Deputy Chris McNeil explained how they should be called whenever an animal is in distress like this one. Dr Daniel 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 was the fourth guest speaker the students heard from. She showed them 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. The fifth 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. Joseph, Maggie, Scout and Skyler were all winners and were awarded framed certificates by the PRC Mascot, Speuter. Because of their efforts, Festus, Ollie, Duchess and Elliott will be spayed or neutered to help prevent over-population. Maggie teamed with her classmate, Andrew, to have Andrew’s dog Ollie neutered. Family members who attended the Assembly were very impressed by how much the students knew about being responsible pet owners. Congratulations to all the West End fourth graders for being part of the team that makes life better for all pets!