School program teaches students to be good pet parents

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St. Gregory students interact with a pet therapy dog as part of a wrap-up session on humane care of animals. (courtesy photo)
St. Gregory students interact with a pet therapy dog as part of a wrap-up session on humane care of animals. (courtesy photo)

Second-grade students at St. Gregory School know how to be good pet parents after completing a five-week cross-curricular program.

They successfully finished the Kindhearted Kids Character Education Program Dec. 10. It takes a hands-on approach to instill humane care of animals and their habitats.

Each student received a stuffed animal dog or cat and  transported it to and from school in a carrier daily so they could better reflect in a journal, read and solve math problems related to their care of the pet. The goal was to instill Christ-like values of empathy, respect and responsibility.

Fr. Andres Arango, pastor, blessed the students’ stuffed animals on their final day before the students were allowed to take their “pets” home permanently.

The second-graders had a chance to interact with real animals on campus too. Members of the Phoenix K-9 unit visited Dec. 3 to show how working dogs have to show respect and responsibility. Therapy dogs from Phoenix Children’s Hospital visited the following week to show how the therapy dogs need to show kindness and empathy to patients of the hospital.

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