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 with some important information to share which reinforced all the students had learned during the program.
Guest speaker, Deb Smith, Founder and Director of the Sandhills Cat Coalition, talked with the students about how she and her team save kitties in the West End and Seven Lakes areas. She discussed with them the difference between pet, stray and feral cats. She brought with her a humane trap and showed the students how it works. Apparently, Kentucky Fried Chicken works really well in attracting cats to the trap! Deb explained the importance of TNR – Trap, Neuter, Return – in controlling the numbers of cats in local colonies. She talked about people who feed and care for colonies of cats – the colony caretakers. Deb talked about how the kittens of feral cats can be socialized and then adopted to their forever homes where they will be much safer and healthier and loved! After her presentation, Deb brought in two ten month old kitties for the students to meet. They were the kittens of a feral mama cat but are fully socialized and so friendly. They enjoyed meeting the students. They had been adopted out together when they were kittens but were returned as their military family had to move and couldn’t take them. They are looking for a new home which is hard now that they are older.
The Pet Responsibility kitty mascot, Speuter, told the students her story about being found by a young boy who saved her and whose family took responsibility for her, nursed her back to health, had her spayed and gave her a forever home.
Animal Services Deputy David Myrick also talked with the students about how they can all help him do his job by looking out for – being an advocate for – the pets in their families and community.
All of the students recited the PRC Promise, promising to always remember to look after the pets in their life and to look out for and advocate for all pets.
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. Jordan, Victoria, Avery, Ella, Nate, Katherine, McKinley, Rowan and Aubrey were all winners and were awarded framed certificates by Speuter. Because of their efforts, Cooper, Flash, Pride and Princess will be spayed or neutered to help prevent over-population. Two of the winners donated their free spay or neuter vouchers to spay and neuter two puppies in need in Robbins. Three of the winners donated their vouchers to Deb and the Sandhills Cat Coalition for kittens in the West End and Seven Lakes area.
Students who created exceptional “clinic” bags were also recognized. Hadley received a certificate for best message, Katherine for best art work and Madison for focusing on smaller, often forgotten pets – hamsters! These bags are used by the Spay and Neuter Clinic to hold medications for pets who have just been spayed or neutered. The owners love to read the messages of advocacy on the bags!
Congratulations to all the West End fourth graders for being part of the team that makes life better for all pets!
Photos of the assembly are below.