Pawvy seeks to make meaningful systemic change in the way of teaching children empathy and the humane treatment of animals. Intentional cruelty is a particular concern because it is a sign of psychological distress and often indicates that an individual either has already been a victim of violence or might be predisposed to committing acts of violence. Children are most likely to exhibit cruelty towards animals in their adolescence. Programs geared to reach children of a younger demographic can only instill better animal ownership values, empathy, and safety. Research demonstrates the positive influence of human-animal interaction on a child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Research supports that even brief interactions with dogs can lower stress levels in children.
In the United States, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, most of whom are children. Our program seeks not only to teach children the importance of good habits regarding animals, but safe handling skills that may help prevent animal attacks. Identifying good animal handling habits will help foster development of autonomous functioning and a better segregation of self/non-self, which is the foundation of sensitivity towards other people.
Animals have a magical hold on children, and learning can be made fun by way of colorful activities involving rabbits, guinea pigs, puppies and kittens. Childhood is also an excellent time to gain awareness of the need that service animals provide, and how we should behave around them. During the second grade a child can feel pressure to learn to read and socialize, dogs can reduce stress reactions of children performing a stressful task. It is anticipated that the repercussions of the pandemic may be felt for several years. Increased exposure to animals will help children, especially those without pets in the home, a stress outlet.
Discussing these topics in a fun, spirited environment will give children another avenue to connect. Studies have found that classroom pets lead to higher social integration, fewer aggressive children, and greater sensitivity towards the needs and moods of other people. Pandemic and health department regulations will likely prevent permanent onsite classroom animals, but the Pawvy: Operation Animal Awareness will allow for this experience in a virtual space. While we anticipate one day being able to visit classrooms, and host events, we are most currently focused on creating online resources that will be available to teachers and parents.
Children are more likely to speak out when they see an abuse occurring if they feel empowered with a developed sense of self. At the completion of the activities the child will be able to print a certificate showing they have mastered the learning. In an age where parents are looking for activities children can do at home, this is an exceptional time to reach out to them.
We are currently soliciting funds to create and distribute a coloring activity book program “Operation Animal Awareness” geared towards all second graders in the state of Idaho. The activity book, and supplemental online lessons will be made available to any second grade teacher requesting them, a parent will also be able to request a copy of the book online. The program can be completed with or without the online component.
The activity book will cover:
Safe and effective animal handling and bite prevention skills.
Tools for being more confident and safer around pets and strays.
Positive human-animal interactions
Careers in animal welfare with a brief mention of the various skills required (science, technology, engineering, math).
What to do when you see an animal in distress.
Service animals and how to behave around them.
Pawvy will seek feedback from a variety of volunteer groups in the way of teaching and animal advocacy. Once the 20 page activity book and accompanying lessons have been drafted, they will be peer reviewed for input.
Pawvy will measure successful use of all grant funds by carefully tracking and documenting all funds used. Ultimate project success will be measured by the number of children who participate in the activity. The project will entail printing 2,000 activity books and constructing six 20 minute long video sessions.
Source needed grant funds
Compile 20 page activity book and 6 video lessons. Submit for peer review.
Edit and make available 6 videos on the www.pawvy.com website. Begin to solicit teacher participation.
Have 2,000 Activity books printed for distribution
Ship activity books to classrooms, parents. Program is considered open and ready for child’s participation