Project Mickey

Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of sitting in on the final class of an after school program aimed towards educating kids about humane relationships with animals. Project Mickey, named after a darling puppy that Jasmine’s House took in who passed away, officially kicked off its Pilot Program in April, and the results have been nothing but astounding.

Fifteen 5th grade students from an inner city Baltimore public school participated in the program where twice a week they learned about a wide variety of dog related issues. These kids not only gained knowledge about things like how to safely greet a dog, clicker training, and proper pet care – they also became very familiar with “pit bull” dogs, and the issues surrounding them. Most of these students began the four weeks with a negative image of a pit bull, and left just like the rest of us: with their hearts wrapped around the big square head of pit bull type dogs everywhere.

Project Mickey is one of the most inspiring things I have ever gotten the honor of participating in. While I was only around for the end result, I could still see how much passion, creativity, and intelligence was pouring out of these kids on this topic. They learned to appreciate that dogs have feelings and that it is up to us to keep animals safe and healthy.

Today was the day they worked on their final projects for next week’s presentation. While I don’t want to spoil much for any Jasmine’s House followers who are going to see the presentation next week, I will say that the ideas these children came up with to share what they’ve learned with their classmates absolutely blew me away. Kids are presenting on why dog fighting is bad, how to be safe around dogs, about pit bulls in general and why breed bans are no good, and more.  It’s amazing what they’ve learned and what they’ve really seemed to soak up from their experiences.

I’ll hopefully post more about Project Mickey as it evolves, but I can confidently say that Jasmine’s House has set up something magical here. These kids, many for their first time, experienced compassion for animals and will hopefully now be their voice among peers – something that likely never would have happened without the four weeks they spent with the school’s representative, the Jasmine’s House folks, a few ambassadogs, and a lot of great lessons.

In order to grow and help more students each session, Project Mickey needs financial support. If you would like to help this program continue so more children can be reached, please consider donating to the cause today.

The Bathtub Saga

Baxter has learned to tolerate, accept, and be brave towards many things in his new life as a house dog. He flies up and down stairs now, he hops in the car with no question, he doesn’t startle at the loud sound of someone dropping something upstairs. He has not, however, become friends yet with bath time.

For whatever reason (oh, I don’t know – maybe the small space, the loud rushing water, or the slippery floors) Baxter finds fear in the bathroom. He panics and shuts down as soon as the door closes. I could probably pick him up and force him to stay still while I quickly soap him up and rinse him off, but his poor trembling body its efforts to get out of the tub for the entire time just makes it a traumatizing experience for both of us.

So what do I do? Turn to Baxter’s always reliable friend: food.

This feat of luring with food was more difficult with the tub than it’s been with other hurdles. I put Baxter’s whole meal inside the tub so he had to climb in on his own. This is pretty irresistible for a little chubster like Baxter. He initially had some trouble figuring out how to get in the tub, walking back and forth to me in my room many times making his “mama, I can’t get my dinner!” noises [insert serious puppy eyes here]. I’m not sure if that was fear based or just plain dumb-dog syndrome.

After a few meals Baxter is now fine with getting in to the tub on his own to eat his kibble (you can see in the pictures below I had to make him a little step stool out of towels).  He still gets a little nervous when I walk into the bathroom with him, scared that I’ll pull the dreaded spitting snake out of the sky to terrorize him. For now, I just walk in and out calmly while he is eating so he doesn’t associate me with the spitting snake. I have even gotten him to eat his dinner in the tub with the water running softly!

It will still take a long time for him to be okay with me in there with him, not to mention putting water and sudsy stuff all over him. I haven’t been as diligent about desensitizing him as I should be, so I don’t doubt that this situation will be similar to the other obstacles he’s overcome – once he figures it out he’ll be okay with it. Silly Bax just needs a little bit of extra reassurance, and that is what foster homes are for

I’ll try to keep you updated with Baxter’s progress on the bathtub. We will continue to work on it and be patient in hopes that someday in the next few weeks we can produce soapy dog pictures!

For more information on adopting Comeback Kid Baxter, click here or email