Across the US, millions of pets are waiting in shelters for their forever families to find them. Thanks to a second grade class in Virginia, one group of rescue dogs is getting some extra help!
Kensey Jones teaches at St. Michael’s Episcopal School in Richmond. In her spare time, she volunteers at Richmond Animal Care & Control (RACC), and she recently found a way to combine her two passions to help the animals find their way home just a little bit faster.
Kensey spoke with Christie Peters, the director of RACC, who also happens to be the mother of one of her students. They cooked up an idea to introduce the class to a rescue puppy named Snow, then assign them the task of writing persuasive stories from the dogs’ perspectives. These drawings and stories would then be placed on the shelter animal’s cage so potential adopters can get to know them in the most adorable way possible!
“I love, love, love belly rubs,” one child wrote for a dog called Famous Amos. “I’m a very cute dog. Don’t you love my name? Am I a very cute dog, because I think I am. Do you love me? I hope you do because then you can adopt me!”
Each of the drawings is 100 percent unique as well as being incredibly cute. Christie knew the project would be a hit as soon as she heard Kensey’s idea.
“The class was working on persuasive writing, and they wrote pieces as if they were speaking on behalf of the shelter dog trying to get adopted,” she said. “I said, ‘That’s the coolest idea… let’s do it.’
“This classroom project collaboration allowed me to combine my two greatest passions, children’s literacy and helping animals in need,” Kensey explained. “I am so proud to see my students rise to the occasion and write amazing persuasive paragraphs through the eyes of one of their RACC dogs.”
After meeting Snow the rescue pup, the kids were allowed to choose an adoptable dog or cat from the list of those available at RACC. Students were asked to focus on writing more about older shelter residents than the younger, more adoptable puppies and kittens. The kids were then given insights into the dog’s unique personalities, likes, and dislikes. In the end, the students wrote about 24 stories — all dogs, except for one lucky cat!
So far, eight animals have gone home after their new owners read their letters! Kensey and Christie both hope other schools will find a similar way to partner with their own local shelters to help homeless pets, too.
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