An important goal of Paws Abroad is to help educate others on the importance of understanding the behaviors and needs of animals in order to create lasting and happy relationships between pet and owner. To spread the message, one of our awesome representatives, Katie Zimmerle, recently brought the message of Paws Abroad and lessons of pet ownership to the Girl Scouts of the KMC as they earned their ‘Pet/Animal Badge’!
The lesson kicked off with the Five Freedoms that every animal should have:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
After a discussion about what these freedoms are and why they are important, the girls brainstormed and shared experiences where they’d seen the freedoms in action. Whether it was the vet, an animal shelter or in their own homes they had plenty of stories to share of pets that they knew received the proper love and care they needed.
Then Katie explained to her eager listeners what type of treatment is unacceptable for animals, such as keeping animals on a chain or in cages for extended periods of time. Additionally, she explained how scare tactics as a means of training prove to have a negative impact on animals as these only cause fear and aggression towards other living things. Katie then went over the proper ways to approach and interact with animals, their body language and signs to look out for in order to maintain the right ‘communication’ and avoid aggressive behavior.
After a quick quiz and a packet to work on, the girls were ready for Katie’s next visit to continue the lesson! Katie discussed animal’s body language and gave the girls the opportunity to talk about their own furry friend’s names and what made them happy and sad about each of them. Going through the different signs and signals of a pet’s body language helped the girls understand how an animal can communicate when it needs love or protection. The girls were given one final homework assignment: My Book About Cats and Dogs”. In this book the girls were given facts about cats and dogs they had learned throughout the lesson and to identify certain behaviors that were important for humans to understand. Not only did this allow them to reflect on the mutually beneficial relationship between pet and owner and how understanding behaviors can keep it a happy one- the girls earned their badges!