West End Students Advocate for Pets
BY ANGELA ZUMWALT
Special to The Pilot
The fourth-grade students at West End Elementary School completed the Pet Responsibility Program back in November.
This program has been taught throughout Moore County Schools by volunteers with the Citizens' Pet Responsibility Committee since 2008 and is regarded as a valuable addition to the curriculum.
The program consists of six carefully constructed sessions that align with the Common Core State Standards and integrate with Moore County's Character Education Program.
The students discussed kindness, respect and responsibility with regard to owning a pet. They learned that the county -shelter takes in more than 4,000 dogs and cats each year, and the importance of spaying and neutering in controlling the pet population. They also discussed pet health and safety, caring for pets' needs and wants, and safety around dogs and cats.
Another important element of the program was advocacy - speaking on behalf of and supporting those who cannot do so for themselves.
Taking this lesson to heart, after the program was over, students in Brad Thomson's class voted -unanimously to execute a drive to collect pet food, treats, bowls, collars and leashes, blankets and toys for the pets under the care of The Animal Center of Moore County, the county shelter.
Animal Control officer Lisa Mackey visited with the students to receive their donations.
"This is one of the highlights of my job," she said.
The students were thrilled to present her with the results of their drive.
Officer Mackey took the donations back to The Animal Center of Moore County, where they were put to good use in the care of the county's homeless pets.
The carefully illustrated box which the students filled with donations is now being used by The Animal Center at its facility in Carthage to collect donations from the public.
The Citizens' Pet Responsibility Committee presented the program to seven schools this fall and will begin a second wave of schools after the holidays.
For more information on the program and volunteer opportunities, visit www.mcprc.org.
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