It Makes a Difference

Because of the many neglect cases we see daily at the shelter, we often ask are we making a difference. Then we sit back and look at the 2,000 animals which we find new homes for each year and the resounding answer is YES! We make a difference for Spot, Max, Miss Kitty and Stopper every day. But our aim is to make a difference in these animals' lives before they find themselves dropped on our doorstep. Toward this goal, we are slowly building our Humane Education classes to instill kindness and proper animal care knowledge at an age when it may have the most impact. We do it...

"For the Love of Animals"
By Anna C. Briggs

One day an old man was walking along the beach. It was low tide, and the sand was littered with thousands of stranded starfish that the water had carried in, then left behind. The man found himself walking carefully so as not to step on any of the beautiful creatures. Since the animals still seemed to be alive, he considered picking some of them up and putting them back in the water, where they could resume their lives.
The man knew the starfish would die if left on the beach's dry sand. He reasoned that he could not possibly help them all, so he chose to do nothing. "That's just Nature's way," he thought to himself a little sadly then walked on.
Soon he came upon a little boy who was frantically throwing one starfish after another back into the sea.
The old man stopped. "Young man," he said "what are you doing?"
"I'm saving the starfish," the boy said. "Why waste your time?" the old man argued. "There are so many, you can't save them all. So what difference does it make?" The boy stopped for a few seconds, then bent to pick up another starfish. "It matters to this one," he said, and hurled the starfish into the welcoming sea.
Who taught this child to have compassion for all living things? Who taught this child that any effort made towards the preservation of life is worthwhile? Who instilled within this child the ability to teach and influence others by his actions alone? Would you be suprised to learn that the person teaching this child could have been you?

Don't be. Cocheco Valley Humane Society is offering the opportunity for its volunteers to take part in our new Humane Education program and they have been busy doing just that; teaching children and adults alike the basic "4Rs" of Humane Education.

RESPECT - for the animals that share our homes, cities, and our planet.
REVERENCE - for the life force of which we are all but a small part.
REALISTIC - awareness of animals that we have chosen to domesticate and bring under our dominion.
RELEVANCE - fellow creatures with which we are intimately familiar, but who are worlds apart, whose "us-ness" and "otherness" may teach us more about ourselves as we study their uniqueness.

It has been suggested that anyone can teach a child to love a puppy; but if we can teach a child to appreciate a spider, then we have truly accomplished something. That something is humane education. Teachers and parents are finding that children who are taught to extend justice, kindness and mercy to animals become more just, kind and considerate in their relationships with each other.

Now, would you be suprised to know that teaching these concepts and virtues is much easier than you might think? Once again, don't be. Classroom teachers know and understand that our instructors (for the most part) are not professionals, so don't let the term "Humane Education" scare you. Lesson plans are in the most cases, already written out and don't forget, you have the full support of Cocheco Valley and all your fellow instructors. At present, we have six instructors in five of our area schools not to mention preschool and Head Start programs that choose to bring their classes to us. The Humane Education course consists of a 45 minute session taught once a week for six weeks. Each week you will enter the classroom to instruct on any one of a dozen subjects you will find in our "Issues Guide".

The following is a sample curriculum.

We hope that once you begin this program you will never want to stop. A young heart responding to the message of kindness and compassion is a wonderful thing to witness. A teaching background is not essential, just a love of children and animals. We can help you with the rest. If at the end of your class, you feel this isn't quite for you, don't worry. We can definately use your help in other shelter related projects.

To learn more about this program, please call Beverly Petree at 749-5322. I am always anxious to welcome a new member to our "team".

Questions or comments about CVHS should be directed to [email protected]
© 1997 Cocheco Valley Humane Society