Today a group of about twenty children, ages 5 – 10 years old, showed up to the shelter. Because of super limited space we’ve had to cut back the number of shelter tours we do, but they had made dog treats and really wanted to look around, so my coworker Nevie obliged. Of course they also asked about meeting a dog. Having faith in my handy little foster dog, I offered Baxter up for the job.
After asking all the kids to please sit still until I tell them it’s okay, I brought Bax out. He loves when we move around the office for whatever reason because it means he gets to say hi to all his staff member friends, and this time was no different in producing his infamous tail wag. The kids of course loved him, seeing how happy he was to be in their presence. They all followed the rules and sat politely as I told them a little about Baxter.
I asked them if they had heard of a pit bull before. Most said yes. I asked if they thought Baxter was a pit bull. Most said yes. I told them that because Baxter was a stray, we aren’t sure what kind he is, and that we can’t put a label on him just because of what he looks like. I asked who liked Baxter. Everyone raised their hands. I even got to drop the “never judge a book by its cover, no matter what they’ve heard in the past” line.
This whole time Baxter had been standing patiently next to me, wobbling from side to side as he wagged enthusiastically. I finally let him go greet the kids, and he calmly walked forward and licked all of their hands one by one. Each one squealed with delight as he sniffed their face and slurped on the palms of their hands. I felt like a proud mom watching him do so well with all the kids!
After all was said and done, I thought, “Huh. Well Bax, we may have just made a little bit of a difference there.” I’m so happy that these and many other young kids are getting exposure the the world outside of stereotypes through Humane Education programs. Experiences like this, no matter how small, are vital to the way they look at animals, pit bull type dogs included. I hope they went home talking about the little black dog with the big square head that they met after school today, and how great he was.
I know it was a brief meeting and we could only do so much, but I’m proud of my little monkey for being such a great advocate, and I can’t believe how far he has come. It was one of those days where you have to sit back and remember to appreciate the small things – like your once very shy foster dog tolerating twenty little ones : )
For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.