Operation Pet Partners




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Operation Pet Partners

Animals and children can be a powerful combination! Animals can teach children about compassion, empathy, sensitivity and a myriad of "life lessons" resulting in children of stronger character, ethics and values.
In this light, it is with great pleasure that we bring our humane education lessons to your classroom.

What is humane education? At its most basic level, humane education is teaching children to care for the animals that share our world - both in our homes and in our communities. It is about fostering attitudes of respect, responsibility and kindness - for animals and people alike! Its fundamental purpose is to make the world a better place for all living creatures.

Operation Pet PartnersHumane education will be an important motivational force to help you meet national, state and local student performance standards. Animals can hold the interest of your students. For instance, a math lesson will take on a tangible relevance when you put into the context of discussing pet overpopulation in your community. Problem solving, computation and probability are among the mathematical skills that will be enhanced by using animals as a topic. Language arts, reading and literature come alive when animal stories and discussions ensue. Map reading and geography become easier when discussing the natural habitat of creatures in that area. Computer skills will be enhanced by using animal-themed software and visiting animal web sites.

Sometimes lessons about pets and proper pet care may lead to students' disclosures about neglect and abuse of animals in their home. Recent studies have indicated that in homes where there is abuse and neglect of animals, it is very likely that child neglect or abuse might be happening as well. Statements from students such as "My dad kicks my dog when he comes near" or "My dog is chained outside and we don't feed him often" are insights into how life might be in that home. Please don't discount these comments. When taught kind and considerate care standards, it might become apparent to some students that the treatment given to their pet might be inadequate or just cruel. Talk to the student and share your concerns with the school counselor or psychologist. You and the counselor can report these findings to your local humane organization. This can be done anonymously and with no threat to yourself or the student.

Because animal cruelty is often a catalyst for child abuse, your local Division of Family Services office should be alerted about the cruelty. Paying close attention to revelations of animal abuse or neglect might help identify children at risk of abuse as well.

These lesson plans are brought to your classroom through an unprecedented partnership, Operation Pet Partners. This partnership unites the region's four leading animal care organizations in the Pet Partner Coalition (PPC). The partners, including the Animal Protective Association of Missouri, St. Louis City Animal Center, St. Louis County Animal Control and the Humane Society of Missouri, are taking a long-term multifaceted approach to the pet overpopulation problem through this plan. Operation Pet Partners encompasses several key elements, including spaying and neutering, expanded education efforts and ambitious adoption initiatives. Together, we can all make a difference in the lives of people and pets!

Good luck with your humane education adventure. Explore the difference humane education can make in your classroom and the lives of your students!

Suzanne Gassner, Director of Education, Humane Society of Missouri
JoEllyn Klepacki, Assistant Director of Education, Humane Society of Missouri
Michelle Kodner, Director of Education, Animal Protective Association of MO.