Saint John Paul II Catholic School is a very special school. When entering the building, there is an immediate sense of love and kindness in the air. The teachers and staff do a beautiful job of teaching the students not only academics but also respect and integrity. It is such a blessing for the Pet Responsibility Committee to have the opportunity to work with such thoughtful students and teachers. The fourth grade teacher Ms. Francis and her assistant Ms. Foreman were very supportive of our program and we greatly appreciated it.
Several volunteers accompanied Christie Hartlove in the classroom over the 6 week program. Sarah Monzillo and her sweet dog Charlie attended most classes. The kids enjoyed lots of Charlie belly rubs and information from Sarah. As Charlie’s breed can sometimes be mistaken for a “mean” breed, she was quite the ambassador for a well behaved pit bull mix. She modeled the slogan we teach the students, “Judge the deed, not the breed”. The class also got to meet Ray Lizzio and his therapy dog, Deke, for lesson 3 which was about the health and safety of our pets. Ray shared with the kids all the things he does to keep his senior Labrador Retriever healthy. Students had the opportunity to practice the right way to meet a dog for the first time. They learned to ask the owner if they could pet the dog, to next let them sniff your hand (or other body part) then gently pet them under the chin or on their back, but never on the top of the head. Volunteers Jill Hemmingway and Patricia Okenica joined in on some of the fun too. They were both impressed with how smart the students were at SJP.
We had a very nice assembly on Monday, May 23,2022 which wrapped up the completion of our program. Our guest speaker was Tammy Foster. She presented a slide show with pictures of just a few of the hundreds, if not thousands, of adult dogs and puppies she’s fostered over the years. Tammy carefully told the story of each precious dog projected on the screen. Some dogs had been neglected, some abused and some had been picked up as strays and turned into the Moore County Animal Shelter. We were all amazed by her dedication and passion to help stop Moore County’s pet over”pup”ulation problem.
Also, during the assembly, we were treated by a visit from our Speuter, aka Mary Smith. Speuter read a poem about her humble beginnings as a stray cat on the street. The students learned that Speuter was lucky to have found someone to love and care for her and went on to live a happy healthy life.
The students at SJP carefully decorated paper lunch bags to be donated to the Sandhills Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic in Vass. The art award winner was Henry for the bag with the best drawing and pet care message. He drew a picture of himself walking his dog on a leash. Runners up were Amore and Luca. Both of their bags were well done as well.
With anticipation, the students listened for their names as Miss Christie called out the winner of the Speuter Story contest. Emma Rae was chosen as SJP’s winner for 2022! She wrote a true story about her 1 ½ year old male dog, Bandit, who needs to be neutered. Bandit is a beautiful German Shephard/Siberian Husky mix who was rescued by Emma Rae’s family at only 6 ½ weeks old. Being animal advocates, the family had already rescued three dogs and two cats! So, Bandit fit right into their pet friendly family.
At the end of the assembly, the students promised to be animal advocates for the rest of their lives by signing a poster that read, “I Can Be a Responsible Pet Owner”. These students will proudly continue being animal advocates by sharing what they’ve learned throughout the program with their family and friends.