On a brisk, sunny, November afternoon, the fourth graders at Carthage Elementary School gathered in the outside auditorium in Nancy Kiser Park, next to the school, for a very special “Assembly”.
The Assembly is designed to celebrate all that the students have learned during their five week Pet Responsibility Program and includes a special guest speaker whose career usually involves working with animals.
The speaker who volunteered her time to talk with the Carthage Elementary fourth graders arrived with a horse trailer in tow and with two colleagues to help her. Dr Bri Gindlesperger, of Breezeway Sporthorse and Diagnostic Clinic in Vass, arranged to bring her own two miniature horses to meet the students and reinforce her message!
The students were excited to meet Wee One and Magic, who were very interested in tending the grass in the park. Longtime PRC volunteer, Christie Hartlove, asked Dr Bri a number of questions which in turn lead to more questions from the students. Why did Dr Bri want to become a veterinarian? What training is involved? How long did it take? What does she do each day at work? What is the favorite part of her job? She also discussed with the students all that is involved in caring for horses and ponies, emphasizing how dependent they are on us for nutritious food, fresh water and regular visits with the vet.
Another special guest also works with animals. Animal Services Deputy Tyler Skellerup of the Moore County Sheriff’s Office. He told the students that he or a colleague would respond if lost, stray or abused pets were reported by the students or an adult in their family. He asked the students to always advocate for pets in trouble and to contact Animal Services for help.
A highlight of the Assembly was the presentation by the PRC mascot, Speuter, of a framed certificate and a voucher for a free spay or neuter to the winners of “The Speuter Story Contest”. The contest involved the challenge of writing a story about how their pet and the community would benefit from their pet being spayed or neutered.
There were many stories submitted, by far the most of any school in the county this school year! There were so many great entries that it was hard to choose the winners. Abby, Alissa, Anna, Ashley, Carly, Emma, Gracie, Madelyn, Triton and Zeon were all selected. Because of their efforts, Brownie, Savage, Pepper, Prince, Apollo, Jackson, Lottie, a future rescue from Caring Hearts for Canines, Loki and Junior will be spayed or neutered to help prevent pet over-population.
The free spays and neuters were generously donated by The Moore County Kennel Club as part of their mission to promote responsible pet ownership and their support of the PRC. The PRC is also making arrangements to transport the pets to and from The Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic of the Sandhills on Route 1 in Vass where the procedures will be performed.
Speuter, the PRC mascot, also shared with the students a poem about how she had been found homeless and hungry by a young boy who had rescued her, given her a forever home and had her spayed. She ended the poem by stating, “Just think of the good we would do if each of us helped one or two! So, let’s not delay. Let’s start right away. It’s all up to ME – and to YOU!”
Three students advocated for pets by illustrating creative messages on paper bags used by The Spay and Neuter Clinic to send home medications with pets who have been spayed or neutered. Bella, John and Olivia received certificates, an art book and colored pencils.
The program closed with each student getting the opportunity to meet the miniature horses and chat with Dr Bri.