Take warm wriggly furry animals and put them in a room full of children and what have you got?
A love fest.
That's what was going on at Pleasant Valley Intermediate School assembly when Waggin' Tails Animal Shelter in Kresgeville brought several of their current rescued dogs to visit and say "Thank you" for their recent donations.
Through the efforts of PVI teacher, Susan Featro, she coordinated a collection of items and money to help Waggin' Tails Animal Shelter and Carbon County Friends of Animals in Jim Thorpe.
"Our collection is also helping Monroe County Meals on Wheels, putting out the message that they are in desperate need of pet food to help their meal recipients who have companion animals. They have found that many people who get the daily meals were feeding a significant portion of this food to their pets, because they didn't have enough money to buy cat/dog food," says Featro.
The school did a Krispy Kreme fundraiser, "Doughnuts for Dogs, Coffee for Cats," raising several hundred dollars.
They also have been bringing in donations of pet food and litter.
Featro applied for a grant through East Stroudsburg University and will receive $1,000 to donate to the shelters with some of the money to be used for supplies, heating and medical expenses.
"This is a huge need the shelters have right now," says Featro.
Suzi Gilbert, a Waggin' Tails volunteer, told the children about Hannah, a puppy they received at six weeks old who needed her back leg amputated.
"We need funds to cover the costs. So right now, we have a campaign going called 'Hope for Hannah.'"
Gilbert explained to the students that many of their dogs they rescue come from puppy mills where dog breeders breed so many and offer very little care.
"Most of these dogs are not socialized. So when people purchase them, they're often unfriendly and cause problems in the family and want to get rid of them," she says.
One such dog was Joey, who is in a foster home now.
"He was bought for a $1,000 from a puppy mill and never learned to socialize and the family didn't want him. The foster "parents" have been working with him for three months and he's now going to be adopted and live in a penthouse in New York," says Gilbert.
She told the students that shelters are full because of overpopulation, with puppy mills responsible for most of them, and hopes that through publicity, people become more aware and not support them by purchasing dogs from them. Instead, she hopes more people consider adopting their pets.
Sometimes dogs come to the shelter because of the death of its owner, like Odie. He was with her owner for 13 years who recently passed away. No one in the family wanted him so now Waggin' Tails is looking for a new home for him.
Some other reasons dogs come to the shelters are because people lose jobs or homes due to the economy and can't care for them any longer.
Another issue she raised was the cruelty of chaining dogs saying it is illegal in some states and hopes to see a law passed in Pennsylvania.
"If your parents could contact their congressman and encourage them to vote for the law, that would be great. Even as students, you can contact your congressmen and ask them to vote for it, reminding them that you are future voters," said Gilbert.
Gilbert stressed that Waggin' Tails and other animal shelters exist by donations only and are always in need of foster homes and volunteers.
After the presentation, the students had a chance to get "up close and personal" with the dogs, which turned out to be a big warm sloppy love fest.
(If you would be interested in helping Waggin' Tails with donations and /or volunteer time, or interested in opening your home to foster a dog or to adopt, call 570-992-4185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)