Rescue Pets Teach School Children Valuable Lessons About Pet Ownership

   

Principal-for-a-Day Jane Hoffman, President of Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Visits P.S. 209 in Whitestone, Queens

President of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Jane Hoffman, and Principal Mary McDonnell show off two-year-old Yorkie, Oona. (Photo by Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals)

President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Jane Hoffman, and Principal Mary McDonnell show off two-year-old Yorkie, Oona. (Photo by Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals)

New York, NY – Thursday, May 23, 2013 – On Thursday morning, May 23, more than a dozen cuddly, adorable cats and dogs, all available for adoption, visited P.S. 209 Clearview Gardens School in Whitestone, Queens (16-10 Utopia Parkway). They were there to help teach the grammar school students important lessons about responsible pet ownership.

The visit marked Principal for a Day, an annual P.S. 209 event that brings community leaders into the school to meet and discuss important issues with school children.

Principal-for-a-Day Jane Hoffman, who serves as president of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, escorted the pets. The Alliance is a 10-year-old coalition of 150 animal rescue and shelter organizations that works to find adoptive families for tens of thousands of New York City’s homeless dogs and cats.

Hoffman visited the classrooms of Pre-K students and 1st- and 2nd-graders, bringing with her some of the animals her organization works with every day. Her goal? To help the children understand what it means to own, and care for, a pet.

Hoffman stressed these important lessons about taking care of a pet:

  1. Give your pets lots of love. They’re part of the family just like you.
  2. Make sure your pet always has water and a comfortable place to rest and play.
  3. Always keep dogs on a leash when you go outside.
  4. Take time to play with your pet — gently, never roughly — and give your pet appropriate toys to play with like balls and chew toys for dogs (not old sneakers).
  5. Always be kind to your pet. Never hit or kick pets, pull their ears or tails, or step on their toes. Remember that a dog is not a horse, so don’t try to ride her.

“It’s so gratifying to talk with young children about what it means to have responsibility for a pet,” said Hoffman, who founded the Alliance in 2003 and has led the organization ever since. “They are often eager to take on the role of caregiver, but need to understand why rules are important.”

Barbra Tolan from the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals introduces pre-K students at P.S. 209 in Whitestone, Queens, to one-and-a-half-year-old Pit Bull, Charlie. (Photo by Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals)

Barbra Tolan from the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals introduces pre-K students at P.S. 209 in Whitestone, Queens, to one-and-a-half-year-old Pit Bull, Charlie. (Photo by Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals)

Hoffman added that parents, too, should follow some important guidelines:

  • Never tie your pet outside or leave your pet alone in a closed car. In summer, cars quickly heat up to temperatures that can be deadly to your pet.
  • Pets need exercise! To prevent your pet from becoming bored or overweight, give your dog routine walks, and at least one really good walk each day — even more frequently if your dog’s health and energy level will tolerate it.
  • Make sure your pet wears an ID tag, and is licensed, microchipped, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered.

Afterwards, Hoffman addressed an assembly of 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-graders. She talked about the decision she made more than a decade ago to give up her career as a corporate lawyer to become an advocate for the humane treatment of animals. A Q&A with the children followed.

Said school principal Mary E. McDonnell, Ed.D., “Principal For A Day allows the school to connect with the community and inspire our young leaders. Jane’s visit today touched both adults and children. It helped to remind me of the words of Albert Schweitzer, The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”


Mayor's Alliance for NYC's AnimalsAbout the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with more than 150 partner rescue groups and no-kill shelters to offer important programs and services to save the lives of NYC’s homeless animals. Receiving no government funding, we are supported by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals. As we mark our tenth anniversary in 2013, we are committed to transforming New York City into a no-kill community by 2015: where no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org

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