The fourth graders at West End Elementary School gathered in the media center to celebrate their “graduation” from the Pet Responsibility Program. They were joined by some 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 speaker Lieutenant Forrest Kirk of Moore County Animal Services explained how Animal Services 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 one of the special guests at the assembly and told the students the story along with photos. She showed them the 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, not long ago, Dr Daniel awarded Karen and Sam a trophy for winning a competition that his veterinary office sponsored! Karen shared the photo of them receiving the award! Karen then announced that she had brought Sam with her to the school! He was waiting outside 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 like Sam 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. Emma, Gracie and Patricia were all winners and were awarded framed certificates by the PRC Mascot, Speuter. Because of their efforts, Ellie, Roscoe and Daisy will be spayed or neutered to help prevent over-population. Patricia took her advocacy one step further by winning the award for her best friend’s dog, Daisy. Students who created exceptional “clinic” bags were also recognized. Ivan received a certificate for best message, Ryan for best art work and Zia for most creative. These bags are used by the Spay and Neuter Clinic to hold medications for pets who have just been spayed or neutered.
While the students went outside to meet Sam, those inside got to know longtime PRC volunteer Elvis, who is a rescued dog who now visits the schools.
Congratulations to all the West End fourth graders for being part of the team that makes life better for all pets!
Photos of the therapy dog teams that visited the classrooms during the program plus photos of the assembly are below.