For a More Compassionate Future
by Wendi Piscia | June 20th, 2018 | 10:06 am
We talk a lot about prevention at Napa Humane, but many people don’t realize that our strategic vision extends far beyond spay/neuter programs and wellness clinics. We are also hard at work reducing the future incidence of dog bites, pet homelessness, violent crime, and social isolation!
Our Humane Education programs in Napa’s schools are an integral part of our mission to promote empathy, responsibility, and loving bonds between pets and their humans. We’re teaching children and shaping a more compassionate future for everyone.
Every year, millions of Americans are bitten by dogs, with almost one million needing to seek medical attention for their injury. Elementary school aged children are among the most likely to be bitten (and the most likely to be severely hurt), because most kids can’t read a dog’s body language, or recognize when he/she needs to be left alone.
Sadly, dogs that bite children are almost always sent away…with a black mark on their record for what may have been a completely reasonable reaction to their circumstances. A history of biting children makes new adoptions (and proper socialization) extremely unlikely. Few people are willing to take the risk with “a biter” – leaving many hapless, sweet dogs homeless, or (even worse) placed into dangerous situations where biting is encouraged. Our Humane Education program works to stop this tragic cycle before it can even get started.
During the 2017-2018 school year, Napa Humane taught 1,920 elementary school students in 75 Napa County classrooms how to be safe around pets. We taught them not only when to leave animals alone, but also why – explaining the things that motivate dogs and cats to defend themselves or their young. The children learn how to read animal body language as well as situations, developing empathy and compassion for other living creatures who have fears and jealousies just like them.
There is a clearly established link between childhood cruelty to animals and later criminality, violence, and antisocial behavior. Learning compassion and empathy from an early age can help break this cycle and replace it with one of kindness and personal responsibility. Our Humane Education presentations (and the Kind News magazines we gave to 3332 kids this past school year) help teach children the values and skills that cultivate safe, healthy relationships with their pets, as well as their fellow humans.
Will you help shape the future by supporting this important work?