The fourth graders at St. John Paul II Catholic School gathered for their celebratory Assembly at the end of the Pet Responsibility Program. They were joined by three very special guests – the PRC mascot, Speuter, Dr. Meghan Buchanan, a local veterinarian and principal of Moore Pet Mobility, and Animal Services Deputy Johnathan McKenzie from the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
Dr. Buchanan talked with the students about her background and explained what it takes to become a veterinarian. After taking some questions, Dr. Buchanan performed a “mock” exam on therapy dog, Bonnie Hartlove. She was very good at making Bonnie feel comfortable with her medical equipment and the exam in general. Dr. Buchanan took her time with Bonnie, while explaining to the students how important it is for the dog or cat to feel comfortable with the exam. She also told the students that veterinarians rely on the pets’ owners to describe any symptoms that the animal may be showing to help them better diagnose the condition. Always being aware of what might be bothering our pets is another way of showing our love for them and all the joy they bring to our lives.
The fourth graders who wrote entries for the Speuter Story Contest proved their love by speaking up for those who have no voice. Alessia was announced as the winner and received a framed certificate from Speuter. Alessia is very passionate about animals and she wrote a three page fictional story about a German Shepherd puppy named Macy who came from an abandoned litter of puppies, dumped by a neglectful family. Alessia detailed the puppy’s condition and the circumstances she dealt with while living on her own. The PRC teacher, Christie Hartlove, was so proud and impressed by how Alessia mentioned several details of an unwanted animal trying to fend for themselves (i.e. needing cool shelter due to hot weather, having to scrounge for food, being so tired because she didn’t have a home, wishing for an owner to take care of her). Eventually Macy “found” a couple to take her in. They checked for an ID tag, took her to the vet so she could be scanned for a microchip. After finding out that there was no information on the pup, they had her bathed to get rid of fleas, given rabies shot, heartworm and flea medication, a collar with ID and, most importantly, had her spayed!
The fictional pup Macy now has a little girl who plays with her, takes her on runs, feeds her and gives her fresh water. She ends her story by saying, “I had a new life, the life I’d dreamed of. I really felt like a REAL dog, not the puppy I used to be”.
Christie had read many, many Speuter Story Contest entries over the years, and this one was one of the very BEST she had ever read!
Alessia does not have any pets, so she donated her free spay or neuter voucher to fellow student, Jacob. Jacob’s pet has not been fixed as she has only recently joined Jacob’s family and is very young. Jacob and his mom are SO excited to be able to have their three month old puppy, Rosie, spayed.
Saint John Paul II continues to be a school filled with animal advocates! Christie and the guests especially enjoyed listening to the students answers during the review part of the assembly. They were asked for examples of being an animal advocate. One of the students said, “being an animal advocate means sometimes NOT getting a pet if your family isn’t financially stable. Because,even though you may want a cute puppy or kitten, you have to think about whether or not your family can properly take care of the pet. So, sometimes making the choice to not get a pet is the most responsible thing to do.” Excellent answer!
The students are eager to do their part in taking care of animals. Christie concluded the assembly by telling the students that the PRC are really counting on their leadership throughout the years and on them being proactive animal advocates.
Congratulations to all the fourth graders at St John Paul II!