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Humane Society of Missouri: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

We applied this generous grant to our Humane IQ for At-Risk Youth program. Thanks to private support from funders like the Petfinder Foundation, we are able to offer this program free of charge to the St. Louis City and North St. Louis County school districts. This Humane Education program helps students who have little exposure to animals as companions or family members gain empathy for the animals in their neighborhoods and communities. The program approaches concerns like dog-fighting and chaining animals and also helps children understand appropriate care for pets, including food, water and care during the extreme temperatures St. Louis experiences in the summer and winter.

The majority of the complaint calls our Animal Cruelty Task Force receives originate from neighborhoods where the HIQ program is taught. The program helps children gain empathy for the animals in their care and helps stop the cycle of abuse. Ultimately the HIQ program results in fewer instances of animal abuse or neglect and fewer animals arriving at HSMO’s shelters in need of medical care or rehabilitation. These educational experiences also help educate children about the low-cost preventative-care and spay/neuter services available to them and their pets and if they are inspired to take advantage of HSMO’s services. They are reducing the likelihood that they would need to relinquish their pets or to have our ACT services utilized.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant helped make it possible for HSMO to teach the HIQ program to 5,315 students through 32 presentations in five school districts. Students learn how to be responsible guardians for their pets at home, how to interact safely with and around animals and how to reach out to our HSMO Animal Cruelty Task Force when they see injured, suffering or neglected animals in their community who need help. We believe this program inspires them to take their pets off their chains and bring them indoors, to seek affordable vet care and spay/neuter surgeries for their pets and to call us when an animal is in need. These actions result in life-changing and life-saving impacts on animals. During the Humane IQ program, the fifth- and sixth-grade participating students organize and coordinate a school-wide donation drive for towels, linens, stuffed animals (pet toys) and treats to comfort the shelter animals. We can have up to 500 animals at our headquarters location on any given day and all of them can benefit from the students’ donations.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

HSMO rescued 30 dogs from a hoarder in Newton County, Missouri, this spring. The animals require months of rehabilitation; some are just beginning to start the adoption process. We have attached before and after pictures of Nicky, who was helped by donations from Humane IQ students.

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