Students at Rossville Middle School had some special visitors as part of their annual book fair. The school’s book fair this year, "Paws for Reading," had an animal theme to it, and media specialist Julie Jackson, who recently adopted a shelter dog, thought it would be great to invite some local rescues to bring dogs and talk to students about them.
"I got with our parent involvement coordinator," says Jackson, "and we decided to have a pet-themed literacy night that parents were invited to."
North Georgia Animal Alliance and East Ridge Animal Services both came out to the school. NGAA’s president, Jillian Alexander-Hollis, and its education team, Dave Mayo and Sharon Narey, brought a dog named Sheila to meet with students.
"Some of the things we like to help kids learn about dogs and other pets," says Mayo, "is how and why to live with animals, that they are living things and not just a piece of property waiting to be played with when someone feels like it. They need companionship."
Jackson had printed pictures of the two groups’ animals available for adoption and attached them to long strips of paper on which students and parents were asked to write Tweets that might help the dogs and cats get adopted. "Can you help me? I really want a family to be happy," read one Tweet. "Don’t worry. I’m not a dog! I’m not a car, either! Just an amazing cat! Only adopt me if you don’t have a dog. lol," read another. Yet another read, "Come see me today, not tomorrow!"
"One of our teachers has a therapy dog, Scout, that comes to the school every Friday," says Jackson, "so we had him, too. He was set up at a kissing booth for the kids."
The two animal groups were set up in different parts of the school and focused on different things. While NGAA talked about adoption and how to care for pets, ERAS brought some of the equipment they use in animal control and discussed animal careers with students.
"We really enjoyed being included in education night at Rossville Middle School," says Alexander-Hollis of NGAA. "It was a lot of fun and we hope to go back again sometime."