Love animals? Love to write? Then this is the club for you! Some animals need to be rescued. We’ll talk about why, look at lots of pictures, create ads and posters, and write adventure stories. Other animals rescue us. Learn about how animals are used to find people, save them from danger, alert them in medical emergencies, and all kinds of other animal heroics. If we’re lucky, we may even have some special human and furry guests..
The above blurb was the description used to advertise one of the writing clubs I taught this summer through Community Learning Centers. In “Writers to the Rescue,” students spent the first day learning about general pet care, the next two days learning how companion animals need rescue, and the last two days learning how animals rescue people.
As part of teaching about how animals rescue people, I distributed information about working dogs and cats. For working dogs, we talked about nine kinds: acting, assistance, herding, drug, hunting, landmine, rescue, sled, and termite. For working cats, we talked about four kinds: military, rodent, show, and therapy. We also talked about skills needed for these jobs and then applied this information to write job application letters and to write advertisements of services available.
Mid-week, I invited a guest speaker from Second Chance Pups. Melissa, Adoption Coordinator for Second Chance Pups, shared how the organization receives dogs from local area shelters and rescues. Then the organization matches the dogs to carefully selected volunteer inmate/handlers from the state penitentiary. Dogs live at the penitentiary while handlers provide nine-weeks of intense training and love. To date, Second Chance Pups has adopted out over 350 dogs and 220 inmates have participated in the program.
Dogs are housebroken and leash-trained. Inmates also train dogs to the standards of the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizenship Program. Dogs learn to sit, come, stay, down, heel. They respond to “No” and to “Leave it”.
Melissa brought along her dog, a Labrador/Great Pyrenees named Mya who is a certified therapy dog. My students got to meet Mya, as well as ask tons of questions. Mya patiently allowed students to pet her. While students browsed brochures about Second-Chance Pups, they even got to give Mya an obedience command and reward her with a treat. What follows are a few photos from this session.
It’s a great rehabilitative measure for the inmates, offering them an opportunity to give back to society in a positive manner … Otherwise overlooked dogs get a second change at a lifelong relationship with a loving family.–Second Chance Pups brochure
Students created a variety of projects over the week, including memory books, promotions, letters, news reports, and stories. I didn’t keep any of their creations and so can’t show you examples. However, they did apply their knowledge from the week to making Thank You Cards to Second-Chance Pups. Below is a group photo of my students, along with scans of some of their cards. You can click on them to get a bigger-size image.