Up and At 'Em: Talking to Kids about Why It's Important to Vaccinate Dogs
Up and at ‘em this morning meant that I trucked over to the elementary school to talk to the kids about dogs. For some classes this meant talking about how dogs and people share the same needs, similar emotions, communication styles, and dog safety.
To other classes it meant focusing more on what they could expect to see at the clinic including how to vaccinate, why we vaccinate, using a stethoscope and trying out the pulse oximeter.
Some of the classes are small enough that it’s less presentation and more a conversation. The kids know all the answers. They know how to provide for their dog and they know what is right and wrong. However, kids will be kids and just like dogs, what they do in a ‘pack’ is not necessarily reflective of the choices they would make if they were on their own so it’s important to provide opportunities to think empathetically.
While I was in the school the others were counting dogs to get a handle on the population in the community. Dog overpopulation is often identified as the issue but without the basic data, there is no way to verify this. As well, what is “too many dogs” to one person or one community might very well be acceptable to another.
Whether dogs roam or whether they live tied up or spend most of their live in crates or sleep in someone’s bed at night says something about what someone chooses as an acceptable lifestyle for their dog. But figuring out what dog lifestyle is acceptable for a community takes facts from which to make decisions and that is what the Northen Dogs team is gathering.
As per usual, the dog stories from the day of walking the streets were based on various versions of awe. Wonderful dogs who are out and about with their dog friends doing their dog things. They have no idea that what they are doing might not be appreciated by some but it sure was appreciated by the team.
They loved the dogs coming up to them and following them along the street. There are dogs who patrol a certain area and basically own that area. When you pass out of that particular area, they don’t. I would love to do a study of dog behaviour in these communities! I can’t imagine what we would find.
Now that the clinics have started, cross your fingers that we’ll see these wonderful dogs for vaccinations and spay/neuter for health purposes and so we can tell the caregivers what amazing dogs they have!
For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare effort to save animals in crisis around the world, visit http://www.ifaw.org