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NHES Visits "Magic City" - Birmingham, Alabama

Through NHES’ free Kindness In The Classroom outreach initiative, a team of humane educators travel across the nation to help youth learn how to treat animals humanely. In February, NHES educators Megan Flinn and Megan Hessenberger spent five days in Birmingham, Alabama, and visited nearly 2,000 K-5th grade students across six elementary schools. Volunteers from the local Birmingham nonprofit, Hand in Paw, co-presented with their registered therapy dogs.

The students eagerly took part in the songs, stories, games, and discussions that make up “Kindness In The Classroom.” They loved the animals, but at times, expressed trepidation about meeting an unfamiliar dog. At one school, students expressed fear of being bitten by a dog. Their fear evaporated when friendly “Fred,” the rescued pit-mix turned therapy dog joined the program and demonstrated a few tricks he learned with positive reinforcement. From then on, the room lit up with the smiles and laughter of nearly 200 students.

Another young student wanted to meet therapy dog, “Jed,” a soulful yellow Labrador, but she thought that all dogs carried fleas. After an educator explained about available flea medication and that dogs (and cats) don’t have to live with fleas, she was eager to make friends with Jed! In addition to these lessons, students learned about the basic needs of pets, what it means to adopt an animal, how to recognize various animal emotions through body language, and how to stay safe around pets.

The NHES educators in turn, experienced a week of laughter, big group hugs from bright-eyed students, and the very best of southern hospitality. We would like to thank Hand in Paw for their partnership, along with Tarrant Elementary, Hudson K-8, Shade Mountain Elementary, CJ Donald Elementary, Minor Community School and Wylam Elementary for helping us make this week a success!

To view pictures of our visit and other images of NHES’ Kindness In The Classroom, visit our Facebook album.

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