In 2017 I expanded my campaign to reach more children with dog safety tools and activities. Starting in my hometown of Petaluma, I approached local elementary schools to gauge their interest in improving dog safety education for their students. My goal was to provide a free copy of Stop, Look & Paws child/dog safety activity to each student in Kindergarten. As I had hoped, schools were very interested, and now I needed to fund this campaign. So, I contacted local veterinarians and businesses as well as a few private citizens to ask for their help in covering costs of the Stop, Look & Paws activity sets. Once they became aware of the startling dog bite statistics here in the US (roughly 5 million dog bites every year, with over half to children), many generously offered financial support for the campaign!
So then it came down to execution of the campaign at schools and with children. Typically, teachers would set up times with me to volunteer in their classroom, presenting and playing learning games with their students to be safer around dogs. This was very fun for me and it was fortunate that I was local, and able to visit each classroom. Then, at the end of each session, the teacher would distribute Stop, Look & Paws learning activities to each child, who would take it home at the end of the day. It’s important that each child have their own activity set, so they have an easy, fun way to reinforce how to be safe around dogs at home, and get support from their parents. As a small thank you to all of the generous supporters and to reinforce the importance of dog safety to parents, each activity included in insert with the name of the business that provided the sticker set as well as key dog bite statistics.
Results for the 2017/18 school year were outstanding, due largely to all of the generous supporters below! Thanks to them, 500 Stop, Look & Paws sets were donated to 23 Kindergarten classrooms in Petaluma.
Feedback from supporting businesses, teachers and parents has been wonderful….and it’s all is focused on seeing students learn about dog safety! Here is a message from one of the teachers as well as an example of children doing follow up artwork to display child/dog safety concepts learned.
“Thank you again for providing us an opportunity to learn about such an important topic, and share the information with family and friends.” Mrs. Ryan, Kindergarten Teacher, Meadow School
Buy Stop, Look & Paws. The following message is from Dr. Zamora, one of our local veterinarians.
” As a way of giving back to the community, our family and the A.E.Z.R. Pet Hospital were happy to sponsor this information campaign in my sons’ school to increase awareness in recognizing dog body language and to deliver an engaging and relevant presentation on dog body language and dog safety to kids. The kids take home the information/activity kit, Stop, Look & Paws, which reinforces the concepts learned. I hope that more schools would incorporate activities such as this. The kids loved it! Thank you Lesley!”
We’ve also received feedback from the community. The local paper, Petaluma Argus-Courier, saw the importance of this new campaign and published an article titled “Educator Wants to Help Kids Better Understand Their Puppies” on March 29, 2018. http://www.petaluma360.com/news/8159441-181/petaluma-educator-wants-to-improve
Looking forward to the 2018/19 school year and beyond, my annual campaign will be expanding to include cities in addition to Petaluma given our success this year. Of note, I will be adding a teacher kit so if I’m unable to volunteer at a school, the teacher can present the dog safety information to her/his own class. If you’re an individual or own a business, and are interested in sponsoring a school or any organization that you feel would benefit from Stop, Look & Paws, please contact me for donation pricing and arrangements.
Lesley – Kids-n-K9s