AARF’s Education Committee works with current and future pet owners in Anguilla to promote responsible pet ownership and engage the community in its work for the welfare of cats and dogs in Anguilla. Through yearly visits to schools, the Committee talks to students about the work of the shelter and the basics of caring for animals, usually accompanied by a shelter puppy.
The students get to ask questions and practice how to approach a dog and read its signals. The younger students learn about a pet’s need for healthy food and clean water, a safe and shaded place to sleep, the importance of exercise for puppies and the basics of dog training. The older students also hear about the importance of spay and neuter and proper preventive medical care for cats and dogs.
The Education Committee also provides flyers and brochures with information on everything from checklists for new pet owners and the benefits of spay and neuter, disease prevention and vaccinations to hurricane preparation instructions for pet owners. Articles are frequently submitted to the local newspapers, magazines and radio stations that further the objectives of the Education Committee.
AARF also welcomes students on field trips to the shelter and arranges internship programs and activities such as its own version of the Shelter Buddy Reading Program, inspired by the Humane Society of Missouri. The Shelter Buddy Reading Program allows students to get to practice their reading for the most loving audience, and provides the puppies with the opportunity to calm down in the cozy laps of the students while they read. The interaction and socialization is valuable for both the participating dogs and the children.
In 2018, AARF launched a pilot dog training project with Malin Granroth, an expert on human-dog interaction from Finland. Free private and group classes offered focused on the relationship between the dog and its owner, providing tools to train on one’s own and work towards desired goals. This well-received initiative is one that we are hoping to develop into an available service on Anguilla.
One of these wonderful young people are Zoe Stachera. Zoe’s family adopted their wonderful fur baby a few years ago on vacation to Anguilla and have volunteered throughout the years of visits to the island. Zoe had the splendid and selfless plan to start a donation drive at her school. The children and parents of the Charter School in Marblehead in Massachusetts did incredibly amazing at donating so much.
We cannot find the words to thank this amazing young lady for going with her heart and making this happen and for all her schoolmates who shared their love. We are so incredibly amazed and appreciative. Thank you Zoe and family and thank you students and parents of The Charter School in Marblehead, Massachusetts!