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Humane Animal Welfare Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

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

The grant we received was through the Petfinder Foundation and Build-A-Bear and was a humane education grant. The funding was used for a variety of things. We paid for transportation for children from a local women's shelter to come to our Kids 'N Critters Winter Camp. We also used the money to take members of our middle school club on two field trips -- one was a visit to an emergency vet clinic, and one was a tour of another shelter. We also paid for transportation for members of our high school club to visit a veterinary equine clinic.

We also paid for a bus to bring high school students to HAWS for a field trip as part of the Veterinary Science Initiative (VSI) program. While here, the students learned about the medical care our shelter animals receive from our shelter manager, observed surgery in our vet clinic, learned about the behavior evaluations and training our adoptable dogs receive through demonstrations, and spent a bit of time with adoptable animals.

We paid for a speaker to come in and talk to our elementary-school-aged club about using a disabled dog for therapy work. The children learned that those with disabilities are able to meaningfully contribute and how animal therapy can make a difference in someone's welfare.

HAWS purchased a variety of items that we have already used in our education programs, and will be using for years to come. One was a tablet that will allow us to add educational images and videos to our programs when we do off-site programming.

We are also planning on using a large portion of the grant to pay for our Spring Break Camp, which runs next week. This is a camp that we provide to children from families that are low-income. This is a free camp and the grant will cover all the costs of running the camp and lunch for the children each day. We anticipate there will be 20 children attending camp next week.

HAWS is committed to education. We believe that education is the key to pet owners providing better care for their animals, and will ultimately result in fewer animals being surrendered to shelters. This grant will allow us to accomplish our educational mission and we see it as a long-term goal.

How many pets did this grant help?

Not able to quantify -- the grant was for humane education.

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

I wanted to read the book “Max Talks to Me” to the children at camp. It’s a fantastic book by Karen Ritz about a boy and his dog, Max, and about how Max needs the boy to care for him, and when the boy is observant he can understand what Max wants to communicate. It’s a good education tool to help children understand about pet responsibility and having empathy for our pets. One of the boys from the women’s shelter didn’t want to listen to the book and told me that he hated reading. But halfway into the book I noticed that he was very attentive, and he actively participated when I paused to talk about what was going on in the book and at the end said he really liked it. This boy had come to live at the women’s shelter because of an abusive father. Additionally, while at the shelter, his mother gave birth to twin boys. Overall he had a great time at camp, which was important considering how much upheaval he was going through in his life at the time. And exposure to people who are kind to other people and kind to pets is very important to children who have experienced abusive situations.

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