|LESSON PLAN OUTLINE|
|OBJECTIVE: This information will clearly teach the students that
there are so many aspects to providing pets with the proper thoughts, care and treatment.
It outlines all major points of why so many pets are relinquished or lost each year as
well as proving that this can be STOPPED if only people have the correct information to
work from. Throughout this program, it will also instill within the students, that
compassion and understanding for 'other than themselves' is critical in thinking and
acting throughout life and provides many benefits towards character development. See IMPORTANCE
OF HUMANE EDUCATION
TIME: 3-4 class periods per school year (average class period 45 min each)
MATERIALS NEEDED: Are listed throughout this outline. A Complete listing of materials that are applicable are listed at HUMANE EDUCATION page.
Everyone must recognize that I am not a teacher by trade. I've been asked for a Lesson Plan by many and I didn't even know what that was for the longest time. The reason I am so comfortable and do such a good job with students, regardless of age, is that I know I'm sharing information with them that they have not heard before and that will change their lives.
Humane Education, as it is known to be, is the whole idea of environment, compassion for all animals and so forth. I am only dealing with responsibility and education regarding our companion animals. For those who provide me with an audience, I believe they will be more likely to look into some form of further humane education later on. It's my opinion, but I feel that trying to discuss more angles or topics involved, would dilute the message and the students would not retain the info we hope regarding the animals. The entire package is for those who have an actual curriculum where time allows this.
You can visit any grade level you choose. I never go to those below 5th grade as I don't feel they can quite grasp what they should in order to follow the program. You must realize that the high school students are sometimes more difficult to speak to, but they are also the ones who will be out on their own in 1-3 years and NEED to hear this at least once before they begin to make the same mistakes so many others have before them. So, do everything possible to see that the higher grades are included in your efforts. (not unlike drunk driving and criminal activities, the majority of abuse and neglect cases are from males ages 18 - 30)
The average class period is approximately 45 minutes. Therefore, that is likely the time you will be allotted. Of course, you can always take advantage of additional time with questions and answers. Even with the 45 minutes, there are interruptions and the delay in starting by at least 5 min also. I usually begin with some humor or something funny or silly to get their attention. I 'apologize' for misleading the students with my appearance, but contrary to rumors, I am not Brittany Spears' double. (I'm 50, short, somewhat weighty, practically bald) and that gets a chuckle from any age group. To let the older students know that I am here to give them information and I expect them to pay attention, I usually begin by asking 'How many of you feel that the info I'm about to give you is something you already know? You already know all there is to know about how to keep a pet." You'll have a couple smarties that will raise their hands. I have some chairs available and ask them to come up front. I place the chairs right where I plan to stand and tell them, 'if you know all there is to know, then I'm going to ask you to sit here to keep me honest and correct me when I make mistakes, OK?
Personally, I wouldn't dream of visiting a school or group meeting for this, without having a rescue animal that is safe with everyone, to have a real time visual they can touch and experience during my speaking. It brings the presentation's message to a whole different and meaningful level. Of the 70+ schools I"ve visited in 8 western states, I believe all but two made it very clear they would not allow any dogs. I took them along anyway, since the van was our daytime home and without fail, they were welcomed into each and every school and became instant celebrities. It helps that I look confident and do nothing to bring attention to the dogs - they bring enough to themselves by being so diversified in size, shape and color, plus being well behaved ladies and gentlemen. Mine don't bark, won't leave my site, don't jump, but absolutely can hardly contain their excitement - anticipating all those hands that want to pet them. See the article from Chicagoland Tails and Monterey, CA newspaper.
I will still only provide suggestions and outlines for those who wish to go into the schools. I could give you a 'word for word presentation, but, you would have to re work it to be comfortable with the way you naturally speak, plus, what I speak of in my presentations may not be applicable or relevant in your specific community.
OK. I hope you have a list of the pages from my "I CAN HELP" page. I feel strongly that anyone visiting a school or youth group should read all the pages in the first category listing. It is 36 pages of a wide variety of things you can and should discuss with the audience. As I say in my intro to that page, we don't use terms like 'shelters' or euthanasia and putting to sleep. Those are inappropriate for such a horrific and neglectful situation that is occurring. You will be surprised at the number of people - even adults - who are unaware of the statistics and the irresponsibility of humans with their pets. To soften the horror to make it sound nicer is simply doing one thing: it makes the audience see that it's not nearly as bad as it really is. They go to dog pounds or county facilities and there, they are killed. Some with injections, some with the gas chamber, and even some with bullets from high school boys who are making extra money.
The only page that I use in its' entirety is 'SPAYN.HTM' the Spay and Neuter Story for Kids. This is how I begin every presentation. You'll see that it starts out very blunt, but immediately changes to how they can do their part to stop this by listening and then making different decisions than previous generations have made. They will do that with knowledge of the facts. They may or may not do this with a softened and politically correct means of using the more accepted words. I just don't see it.
Some other pages that are 'musts' in their content, are 'Backyard Breeders' 'I died today" "In or Out' and 'Your Next Pet" If you could read these pages enough times to be familiar with their content, you could present a decent program in your own words. After doing rescue for so many years, the 'pregnancy' and 'allergies' pages have strong substantial impacts with those I speak to. It is amazing to realize the number of animals which are relinquished due to the woman's first pregnancy or their unjust fears and incorrect assumptions of allergies.
There is no doubt, it will seem overwhelming and frightening at first. But anyone who has the sense and compassion to recognize the importance of humane education, certainly has the information through their experiences to speak for 45 minutes. MAKE SURE YOU TAKE A WRITTEN LIST OF TOPICS. keep them with you and don't be afraid to look at them. I always do. My outline is this:
1. The absolute evils of having a litter of puppies or kittens along with the importance to the health of the pets to provide spaying and neutering at a young age. See Spay and Neuter Story for Kids.
2. The need for everyone with a pet to have some form of access to proper training and guidance. It's very clear that most people assume they have the talent to train a dog, but the likelihood is that they were just lucky. Most likely is that they won't take the appropriate time to do what is necessary to bring the puppy to the level of bahavior they wish to have and will end up getting rid of the dog unfortunately.
3. The importance of becoming the 'guardian' of the proper pet for you and your family and the lifestyle you live. Definition of 'owner': One who has possession of an object, thing or piece of real estate. Definition of 'guardian' One who adopts a child or pet for the sole purpose of providing necessary care, compassion, guidance, love, exercise, food, water and shelter for a safe healthy existance.
4. The benefits of community involvement. Do not stand idly by and allow abuse, neglect or other ignorance by humans. Help the community to learn to better through information sharing.'If you don't tell them, who will?" Many ideas can be located here.
5. The importance of providing the appropriate needs for your pet, not necessarily what your ego decides is best for them. Dogs tied to a post, teathered to a fence, kept in a small pen, etc. That is what the human wants for them and is not at all healthy for the pet.
6. How everyone can become involved on an individual basis by helping senior citizens and low income families by providing occasional vet trips or a few bags of dog food to prevent their pets from being relinquished to the animal facility unnecessarily.
7. The benefits of beginning with an adult dog from the dog pound as opposed to 'assuming' that they have the knowledge or understanding of how to properly train a new young puppy to meet their needs. (Having my five dogs in the classroom that are obviously very lovable and worthwhile, helps bring this point home with some foundation) Each one was an adult from the pound when I adopted him or her. The fact that one has kept a puppy, only means they were lucky, not necessarily a skilled or knowledgeable trainer. An adult dog from the pound is already spayed and neutered, vaccinated; past it's digging and chewing stage and will respond with love and affection as it has just come from a family who obviously didn't care. See 'Your Next Pet' for full argument.
8. The proven benefits for humans as well as their pets of providing 'indoor' sleeping arrangements for their pets. Reduced allergies for children, improved allergenic reactions for adults who already have them, as well as a longer and healthier life for the pets as well. After all, if a dog is to protect its most important family members, it can't do so from the back yard if it has no access to the inside areas. (Reference: Associated Press article by Justin Pritchard in San Francisco) See 'Inside or Outside' pets for full story.
9. A 'guard dog' is one who has been properly trained for the job and understands its boundaries. It is NOT a dog someone throws into the back yard with no guidance or training. The latter will only prove to annoy your neighbors and cause your family undue troubles with barking, biting or destruction of property. This is a lazy mans' way of making excuses for not providing the pet with the proper care, socialization and compassion required by all pets.
10. Why the perfect family should consider a second compatible dog or cat as a companion for the first one. (Too many deserving and loving animals will die if not, and dogs and cats are social animals and enjoy the company of other compatible dogs and cats) They play with and train each other and offer much needed exercise for each other.
11. The absolute necessity for having proper identification on your pet at ALL TIMES. (I.e. 4th of July, New Years Eve, tornadoes, earthquakes and various events that frighten your pet to where they will escape out of fear.)
12. To discuss the proven links between animal abuse and future criminal activity as adults. (Reference Houston Chronicle Story Nov 29, 2000 by Jo Ann Zuiga: "Animal Abuse May Be Warning Sign)
13. IF you are forced to part with your beloved pet, remember to never take it to the local pound, but to a local rescue org. and NEVER place a "FREE TO GOOD HOME" ad in the paper. The 'whys' and the options. Rethink your decision to relinquish the pet. It has already given everything it has to try and please you and would certainly give it's life to protect you if need be. Don't dump it off for silly self-centered reasons, which could be rectified through some training tips or a few sacrifices on your part.
14. Make sure you select the appropriate pet for your family's lifestyle. If you live in a large high rise, you don't want a dog that needs to run 20 miles a day (dalmatian) If you are less active family or one who is always on the run, you don't want to get a highly active dog. However, a Great Dane, as well as a german shepherd are good dogs for apartment living as they do not require the high energy exercise nor the volume of walks that many others do. Smaller dogs are usually NOT best for condo or apt living due to their excessive barking that disturbs the neighbors.
SUGGESTED PROJECTS FOR THOSE INTERESTED
1. To hopefully prepare a program in which the members will visit other schools in and around the local area to share this information and hopefully help others to form these humane
education clubs in their schools as well. ***This helps the students with business planning, public speaking, speech preparations and much more. See Forming clubs
2. The first several meetings of this group can be enhanced through additional speakers from their local humane organizations, vets, dog trainers and animal control officers who will share their local problems with the students.
3. Offers to assist senior citizens and low income families with donated food and vet visits as well as training tips to improve the quality of the pets' lives as well as their own. Also see this.
4. How to convince the public to obtain appropriate identification for all pets either through a simple engraved tag on the collar or micro-chipping. ***The excuse for not having proper I.D. is that their pets never leave their home. On the fifth of July for example, pounds and other animal control facilities are flooded with pets with no I.D. from fear of the fireworks the previous night. Nearly 150,000 are killed just due to this one annual event. So, if they had ID or had been placed inside the home as they should, this would not occur.
5. To tackle the project of holding an OFF SITE adoption program for those pets who would otherwise face certain death at the local facility. After all, the public rarely goes to the pound, as it is a very sad and depressing place. They will, however attend an event at a local city park where each animal is leashed and accompanied by a volunteer with a card containing the autobiography of that given pet. *** People do NOT want to go to the dog pound or county facility due to it's gruesome smells, sights, sounds, etc. This allows people to experience these dogs in a happy, playful atmosphere of adoptability.For each volunteer, there is one dog on a leash. That volunteer has a 3X5 card with all the details of said pet and will allow prospective adopting families to walk the dog and get to know it. This all takes place with the volunteer right at their side at all times and inside an enclosed, fenced area.
6. Try to tackle a project such as opening a local dog park where the dogs and their guardians come to socialize, run and play with each other in a securely fenced area or help adopt some older 'un adoptable' dogs to senior citizens who live alone - a win win situation. *** Creative thinking is the true success story in all this.
7. Obtaining much needed coverage in their school newspaper to help other students to learn proper care-giving procedures and responsibilities for their pets. Not to mention the benefits to their org. as well as the local community of having nice coverage within their local papers and TV. news. *** This will help them see how networking, publicity and the sharing of knowledge can truly make the difference in this tragedy that is really so very easy to stop.
8. The need to speak out and get involved in issues that surround your family and those you care about. To take action and vote on issues and for candidates who strongly support and stand by ideals that help your local area to grow and improve the quality of life for all souls who reside there. Do not sit idly by while a neighbor neglects or abuses an animal by tying it up to a post or allowing it to go without food or water. Do not sit idly by while an important initiative gets defeated in your local elections. ***This will assist students to understand their government. They will learn how their local government works, ways to lobby their government, and increase awareness and appreciation for how the system works in which they live.
9. Letter writing campaigns, neighborhood 'reach' programs and other means of truly helping the local population as well as local government officials to provide improved care for their pets. ****This will help students' writing abilities, vocabulary, english skills, and grammar.
I would strongly advise that you take along a half dozen additional printed pages i.e. Jim Willis' written pieces. I have four of them on my site. "How Could You?", ''True Story" and "Free Kittenz" are my two favorites. Then some additional pages that you will leave with the teacher. Hopefully at a later date, in an effort to re mind them of all they learned today, they will either discuss one of these - each at different times, or do an essay on them, etc. You really don't' want to just leave and not have them discuss this topic again or they will not retain the information provided. Remember, the compassion and understanding they will learn from this program can and will change the world in which we live.
Additional questions or comments are welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org