Therapy dogs help teach Crossroads Charter Academy students about pets

FURRY FRIENDS: Second-grade students at Crossroads Charter Academy group around the dogs brought in by volunteers from the Riley Mackenzie Fund. (Pioneer photo/Meghan Haas)

FURRY FRIENDS: Second-grade students at Crossroads Charter Academy group around the dogs brought in by volunteers from the Riley Mackenzie Fund. (Pioneer photo/Meghan Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — A furry frenzy visited Crossroads Charter Elementary School on Friday as six therapy dogs were brought in to help teach second-graders about different aspects of their pets and ownership responsibilities.

Volunteers from the Riley Mackenzie Fund each taught a quick lesson before letting students gather around each of the dogs they wanted to pet. The Riley Mackenzie Fund is an assistance program for stray and abandoned animals, according to their website rileymackenziefund.org.

“Just like you have school, the dogs have school too,” said volunteer Debbie Szot, explaining the obedience classes each of the therapy dogs had to attend.

Szot and her husband, David Szot, brought two Boston terriers, Zubie and Annie, and told students what to do if they see a stray and how to approach a dog they would like to pet.

Szot said students should let their parents know when there is a stray animal nearby, so Animal Control Officer Trent Livermore, of the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, can come and take the animal safely to a shelter.

Students also learned about Rugby the goldendoodle, a golden retriever and poodle mix, Pixie the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Sinci the Siberian husky and Ruger the rottweiler.

Ruger and his owner, Ed Straley, showed students how dogs can do math equations, as long as the answer is always 5, and what dogs should not eat.

“One thing they can’t have is chocolate,” Straley said. “Another thing is raisins or grapes.”

He said these items, and a few other, are poisonous to dogs. One piece may not be bad, but too much could could be harmful.

At the end of the presentation, student gifted the volunteers with $41 the second-graders had raised, and were gifted with a few wet kisses from Ruger. The money will help pay for food for shelter animals.

“We are very grateful,” Szot said. “Our goal is for children to grow up and be kinder to animals.”

avatar

Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply