Have you heard about this program for kids, developed through a collaborative agreement between Pet Savers Foundation, Yale University School of the 21st Century (Yale 21C), and the Millan Foundation? The lessons highlight the unique characteristics and needs of Mutt-i-grees,® dogs awaiting adoption at a shelter, while teaching children social and emotional skills.
The curriculum is available for kids in Pre-K through 12th grade, and the lessons are presented in five units: Achieving Awareness, Finding Feelings, Encouraging Empathy, Cultivating Cooperation, and Dealing with Decisions. Activities and readings focus on dogs and include feature lessons on dog behavior developed with renowned dog behavior expert Cesar Millan, from NatGeo WILD’s Dog Whisperer.
The Curriculum does not require the presence of a dog in the classroom, although some schools involve a therapy dog for some of the lessons.
Research has shown that there are many positive effects of dog-human interactions, including laughter, conversation, and excitement. Even the vicarious presence of a dog (in the form of a puppet or toy) or simply thinking or reading about dogs has been shown to be effective in commanding attention, improving cognitive abilities, and contributing to happiness. People in the presence of dogs are often perceived to be calmer, happier, healthier, and less stressed.
Anything that increases awareness and adoption levels for shelter dogs is A-OK in my book. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the Mutt-i-Gree Curriculum website.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!