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Oshkosh Area Humane Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

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

The money was used to purchase books for elementary- and middle-school-aged children. The books chosen give children information on humane treatment of animals, safety around animals, and responsible pet ownership. We chose 11 different books featuring a variety of people and animals geared toward different grade levels. We have already presented some of the books to local classrooms during staff programs and presentations. We also keep many of the books in our building for children to read while they visit. Children are allowed to bring the books into the petting rooms for cats and read to the animals (with parent supervision). We also have a Read to Dogs program in partnership with a local middle school. The program is for children who are struggling to read or who do not have English as their first language. The books are also available for this program, and the children involved are allowed to pick out a book to keep. This encourages a love of reading along with lessons of compassion and responsibility in regards to animals. Grant funds are also used to support the costs of classroom-based youth humane-education programs through our organization.

This grant is helping to create a more humane, animal-friendly environment by giving tools for children to learn about compassion, responsible animal treatment and safety around animals. Many of the books feature adopted animals and highlight the importance of adoption. We feel this grant, through the books and presentations, will help hundreds, if not thousands, of animals, since each child affected will carry the information with them throughout their lives. Our hope is that many of them will choose to adopt when looking for a companion animal because of their positive experiences and information from their interactions here at OAHS and in their classrooms.

How many pets did this grant help?

We estimate this grant will help at least 200 animals.

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

Both children and animals benefit from reading programs. In the Read to Dogs program, children sit outside the kennel of a dog and read out loud to them. This helps the dog not only get used to the presence of someone in a non-threatening way (no eye contact, sitting sideways), it reduces their impulse to jump and bark when someone is in front of their kennel. Jessie the dog (first photo) struggled with stress in her kennel and did not present favorably when people were walking by, so staff and volunteers put her in a variety of behavior and stress programs to help her relax while in her kennel. The Read to Dogs program was a part of Jessie’s stress-reduction program and, as you can see in the photo, she is not jumping or barking. Jessie did get adopted and is now in a loving home.

Further Reading