Bucky, the rescue dog, goes to schoolEmily Sies-Mandel, lead school-age teacher through the YMCA, invited St. Croix Animal Friends (SCAF) to talk with students in her program about the importance of pet care and animal rescue in our area.
Emily Sies-Mandel, lead school-age teacher through the YMCA, invited St. Croix Animal Friends (SCAF) to talk with students in her program about the importance of pet care and animal rescue in our area.
On Dec. 16, Crystal Fetting, SCAF’s Foster Program coordinator and Certified Canine Behavior Specialist, visited the YMCA School Age Care program at River Crest Elementary School with her rescue dog, Bucky. Her presentation focused on several areas: safety, canine body language, adoption and training.
She reminded students that all dogs are not like their pets at home. Fetting explained how to interact with an unfamiliar dog by asking the owner’s permission to approach the dog. Students were told to keep a safe distance and not approach an unfamiliar dog when no owner is present. When touching someone else’s dog, she advised students to pet it gently on the back and not to touch dogs on the head or face or pull their tails.
Fetting gave some examples of how to read a dog’s body language and signals that show if it is stressed, unfriendly, or afraid. Examples of these signals include excessive lip licking, yawning, ears back with body in a crouched position, showing of teeth and growling.
“These are clear signs the dog should be left alone, and not approached,” Fetting said.
She described the importance of pet training.
“A well-trained dog is a well-behaved dog, which makes life happier for the dog and its family,” Fetting said. She used tricks to demonstrate the fun side of training a dog. Volunteer students were able to help Bucky perform some of his tricks. Bucky showed students he can go into his cage and close the door after himself. Fetting told students to be patient when trying to teach a dog good behavior or to do tricks.
Fetting mentioned there are lots of great dogs and cats needing homes and, if adopted, would make wonderful companions. She encouraged students to think about pet adoption if their families are looking for a dog or cat.
At the end of the program, students were able to pet Bucky. Everyone went home with Bucky’s “Pawtograph” on a card.