On Friday, May 12, 2023, the West End Elementary fourth graders gathered in the school Media Center to celebrate becoming Animal Advocates after participating in the Pet Responsibility Program.
A review of the “I Can” statements from each lesson was further enjoyed by students winning “I Can” prizes by explaining each of the six statements.
The Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) mascot, Speuter, who had been a lonely stray kitty, was introduced to the students and read a poem that told her story and highlighted responsibility for our pets.
The guest speaker was Seven Lakes Kennel owner and dog trainer, Neil Copeland. He worked with therapy dog Elmer to demonstrate easy lessons to train our dogs. Then he answered many questions from curious students about his experience and work with animals. Students enjoyed watching PRC volunteer Liz Surface show how Elmer is learning agility, by luring him over a “jump”. Elmer walked around it many times until the jump was lowered, then he hopped over it and repeated his “jump” again, with much applause from students! PRC volunteer Beth Skewis showed students how her therapy dog, Jackson, could “spell” and count, by having him select the right flash card held in front of him. Again, much applause from the students for Jackson’s efforts!
Star Artist awards were given to students Ben N., Dominic, Kierce, Milani, Nico, Sam A., Sarah, Taylor, Violet, Andrew, Avilynn and Taylor T. for creative illustrations of pet care on “clinic bags”. The decorated paper bags were donated to the Sandhills Spay Neuter Veterinary Clinic in Vass, for dispensing medications to pet owners to give to their pets after their surgeries.
Several students were announced as winners of the Speuter Story Contest, successfully describing the importance of getting our pets “fixed” to control Pet Overpopulation. The students won a free spay/neuter for their pets or could donate their award to another person. Winners were Estelle A. for her dog, Jewels, and Gwyneth F. for her cat, Ebbetts. Eloise M. and Sophia M. will donate their vouchers to a friend in need. Students Adalie V., Silas E., and Audrey R. donated their vouchers back to PRC to be used for anyone in need.
The Final Chapter of “A Tale of Two Pets” was presented. The students had been following the story of shelter pets Barney and Snowball throughout the program. Barney, the cat, is enjoying his home with Aberdeen fourth grade student, Mason. Snowball, the dog, is having a good life with Mason’s friend, Madison. All the Snowflakes, Snowball’s puppies, have found loving homes.
The Promise Poster was read, with students agreeing to the pet-related statements by saying “I Promise”. It was circulated among the classrooms for signing by the fourth graders and will be displayed in the school. Bookmarks and Pawsome wristbands were distributed in the classrooms.
Congratulations to the West End fourth graders for speaking up for “those who have no voice”. They will be wonderful Animal Advocates!!