ECPR Teaches Humane Education With Southwest Youth and Family Services

Our slogan here at Emerald City Pet Rescue is “Love Can Save Lives.” Every day, all of us here at ECPR discover how true that is in so many ways. Not only does adopting a rescue pet give them a new chance at a happy life, but so many people who have rescued often tell us, “Really, he/she rescued ME!” I can personally speak to the truth of that as my first rescue dog, Lily, has been with me through thick and thin and I can’t imagine my life without her unconditional support and friendship. Dogs love without conditions, they forgive the unforgivable, and they have the resilience to overcome unspeakable horrors. My love and respect for how courageous they are is not only a personal passion of mine, but it has become a large part of why I do the work that I do. In the recent outreach that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of, I have had the privilege of witnessing dogs, just by being the loving souls that they are, reach the hearts of many and brighten their lives.
3D17Recently, our wonderful Education and Outreach Specialist, Bethany, had the opportunity to collaborate with counselors from Southwest Youth and Family Services who help young children deal with aggression and bullying issues. They visited an after-school program in Burien called New Futures twice per week and asked us to assist with dogs one day per week. The children in the program ranged from ages 5 – 8.
As I often do, my personal dogs and I came along with Bethany (our ECPR “ambassador” dogs!) As much as we would love to bring adoptable rescue dogs to every type of event, outreach, or educational opportunity, we don’t always know how they are going to react in those types of situations and we want to make sure that we don’t put them in situations that may be unsafe for them or for others, nor do we want to add any extra stress to their lives. Fortunately, Bethany and I have wonderful rescue dogs of our own, some of them ECPR alums themselves, that can serve as ambassadors; they are socialized, very loving, and wonderful representations of how much love rescue pets have to give.
BF15Bethany developed a variety of activities over a three-day period of time (one day a week for three weeks) to help the children learn and understand the concepts of empathy and compassion while using the animals as a way to help them understand the message. These lessons were partly about learning about animals and how to care for them, but she also had them relate things animals need to be healthy and happy to what they, the children, need to be healthy and happy. Their faces lit up when they realized that people and animals need the same things! We had them do activities where they worked in pairs (to encourage healthy communication and respect toward one another), and of course, we had plenty of “dog time” where they were able to pet and hold the dogs and learn about their rescue stories. It is amazing and uplifting when young children truly understand the responsibility of caring for a pet, and how teaching them about animals helps them relate to each other better as well. The teachers mentioned they already saw a noticeable difference in their behavior, and Bethany and I were so touched by that!
DBD6When we first met the children, they were rowdy (like all children are!) and oh-so-eager to meet the dogs, but as we taught them about how to approach, pet, and handle the dogs, and as we did various activities with them to help them understand empathy and compassion, we witnessed new concepts in the world opening up to them as they learned all about communication and body language. I was particularly amazed when one of my dogs got a bit frightened and tucked her tail between her legs – one of the young children said, “oh give her some space, she’s scared!” His concern for her and his attention to her body language truly touched my heart!
One of the children had a very difficult time sitting still and being quiet, but when I put my littlest chihuahua in his arms, suddenly he was very calm and so gentle with her. The immediate transformation as he showed compassion for my dog, Peaches, was simply amazing to witness.
0351Bethany did an incredible job creating tailoring lessons and activities to the age range and needs of these students and I feel incredibly honored that I was able to join her on this experience. I’m very thankful to be a part of such a compassionate rescue that values encouraging the community (people of ALL ages) to have compassion for animals, and for each other.
If you are a part of a school, a program, a community center, or anything else and you would like the opportunity to bring in a form of Humane Education, please contact our Education and Outreach Specialist Bethany at bethany@emeraldcitypetrescue.org 
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ECPR Offers Humane Education Curriculum to Elementary Students

IMG_8738One thing that we feel very strongly about here at Emerald City Pet Rescue is reaching out to the public. Recently our Education and Outreach Specialist, Bethany, has developed a Humane Education curriculum for elementary students and we recently had the first opportunity to visit the students enrolled in Dearborn Park International School’s Summer Staircase Program for three sessions. The students were split into three groups ranging from Kindergarten to fourth grade. Bethany designed a program that would encourage the students to think about compassion and empathy in regards to both animals and to the other people in their lives.

IMG_8736The first day of our visit, we taught “Intro to Rescue.” We discussed The Three R’s (Rescuing, Rehoming, Rehabilitating), we discussed some of our adoptable animals and their special needs, and then led into what it takes to care for those animals and to have compassion for them.

On our second visit, we introduced the students to some activities in regards to empathy and engaged them in a conversation and Q and A about understanding a person’s basic needs, an animal’s basic needs, and to compare what a human needs vs what an animal needs (and allowing them to discover that many of our needs are all the same!). We then provided them with hypothetical situations / scenarios and asked for their feedback on how they should respond to those things with empathy in mind, a word we incorporated deeply into the lessons with the hope that the students would take with them an understanding of how to identify and have compassion for the feelings of others. Some of the hypothetical scenarios we gave them were, “If you see someone on the playground making fun of or picking on someone else, what can you do to make that person feel better?” The kids responded with answers like, “Tell a teacher” and “ask that kid to play with me so they won’t feel sad and left out!” Hooray – they were understanding empathy!
We then moved on to animals. “What if you see a mama cat out searching for food so she can care for her kittens, and someone is throwing rocks at her? How do you think that cat would feel, and what can you do to help her and make her feel better?” The kids responded with, tell the person to stop, give the mama cat some food, etc. They were understanding that an animal has feelings too. Success!

At ECPR, we firmly believe that helping young people understand empathy and compassion for both their fellow human and animals alike, they will grow up to be happy, healthy, helpful, kind adults. Animals need our empathy and compassion, especially when they cannot speak for themselves.

Our third visit was the most fun for the students, we brought some dogs for them to meet! We taught them about properly approaching a dog, about always asking permission before trying to pet a dog, and how to be gentle and respectful of the dogs and their space. We got them into smaller groups and allowed them to meet and pet our dogs.

IMG_8731Although the students were young, I watched them light up when they understood something, I saw them connecting the importance of caring for an animal’s needs by realizing their basic needs are the same as our own (food, water, shelter, LOVE, being safe, etc.) and I feel confident that the lessons we did will help these students grow into adults that are compassionate toward animals.

We are fortunate enough to have more schools lined up for this lesson plan, and we also plan on expanding and developing more lessons for all ages. We understand that as a rescue, we strive to help the animals in our care of course, but the best way we can help ALL animals is to be involved in our surrounding community and to help educate people about the awesome responsibility of caring for animal’s needs and what it takes to keep them healthy and happy. The more confident and knowledgeable a person can be about animals, the more equipped they will be to decide if owning a pet is right for them, what kind of pet might best fit their lifestyle, and what an animals needs are.

IMG_8740If you are involved in a school or program and you think Humane Education would be a great fit for your students, please don’t hesitate to contact our Education and Outreach specialist at bethany@emeraldcitypetrescue.org 

We’re happy to work with you and design a curriculum that best fits your school and/or program! IMG_8745 IMG_8750 (1)

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ECPR Provides Humane Education to Students in Seattle

IMG_5610 (1)At Emerald City Pet Rescue, not only are we passionate about caring for our rescue pets and finding them new homes, but we are also passionate about reaching out into the community and teaching them about the importance of rescue.
This winter, ECPR has had the wonderful opportunity to introduce the world of animal rescue to a group of eager, compassionate, animal-loving High School students. This group of students participated in a program called AMP (Action Module Program) and they chose humane education as their experiential subject.

Myself, (Kelley) and our education and outreach specialist, Bethany, had the opportunity to first visit the students at Bush School  for three days of classroom learning. We were able to engage them in discussions, debunk any “myths” about the rescue world, and give them some hands-on experience with a few of our dogs to give them a taste of what working with them directly is like.

Such wonderful hearts these students had, they even did a fundraiser / bake sale at their school to help raise money for our pets!

The students then had the opportunity to spend a handful of days at our rescue, learning further about the daily operations of what we do, and what all of our different departments are responsible for. They were also able to spend more time directly with our animals working on training, learning about their histories, and helping to socialize and prepare them to find forever homes.

Every person working at this rescue has a passion for animals, and it’s wonderful to be surrounded daily by others who all share such an important common interest. We set out on this mission to teach young people about rescue, but Bethany and I learned a lot from this experience as well. We were delighted that these students chose to learn about humane education and we were so encouraged by their eagerness to learn and help. Together, as a community, we can continue to save animals in need and make a difference. These students made a difference for our animals, and they made a difference to the people of ECPR as well by reminding us that we are not alone in our passion and purpose.

If you are a school or a business who has the desire to learn and help, please contact us. We would love to continue to provide humane education to anyone willing to learn. The more we come together, the more animals we can save! At ECPR, we know that Love Can Save Lives. “

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