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Horizons Elementary School Wins Mutt-i-grees® "America Adopts" Second Chance PSA Contest, Spreads Message That Shelter Pets Deserve Another Chance At A "Happily Ever After"

Students Share the Message of Kindness Beyond the Classroom

Port WASHINGTON, NY, February 4, 2013 – Horizons Elementary School of Appleton, WI has been named the 1st place prize winner of the 2012-2013 Mutt-i-grees “America Adopts” Second Chance PSA Contest. The school’s winning video, “Happily Ever After,” is the story of how three shelter animals were able to find their “happily ever afters” through adoption. The students who made the PSA, most of whom have pets of their own, worked together to create biographies for Duke, Gracie and Stitches, the three shelter pets whose stories the PSA narrates. As 1st place winners, Horizons has won a $1,500 educational grant.

Schools nationwide started off the school year by participating in an animal life-saving competition, submitting public service announcements to the 2nd Annual Mutt-i-grees “America Adopts” PSA Contest. After the top winners of the original contest were chosen, the schools had another chance to win, thanks to the Mutt-i-grees “America Adopts” Second Chance PSA Contest. The top three Second Chance PSAs were chosen by popular vote, with the video that got the most plays winning.

The Mutt-i-grees “America Adopts” PSA Contest is a nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the availability and desirability of Mutt-i-grees – a term describing any dog, cat, puppy or kitten from a shelter or rescue group. It reflects the essence of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, a unique approach to teaching children social and emotional skills as well as highlighting the individual characteristics and needs of Mutt-i-grees. The Curriculum was developed by North Shore Animal League America in collaboration with Yale University’s School of the 21st Century and is funded by the Cesar Millan Foundation.

Horizons has been enthusiastically implementing the Curriculum through once-weekly lessons with its K-3rd grade students schoolwide. Ruth Musolf, a paraprofessional at the school, says that the Curriculum really helps students to better interact with others. She says that the focus on shelter pets helps children think about kindness not only toward animals but also toward humans. For instance, when asked to more closely examine any impulse to be unkind to another child by thinking about whether they would be mean to a cat or dog, Musolf reports, the children say, “Of course not. We’d never hit or yell at a pet!”

In February, Horizons will expand its use of the Curriculum to also include Horizon’s 6th graders. Musolf, who serves as a Mutt-i-grees Peer Trainer, says that the Curriculum is being implemented by Horizon’s YMCA after school program as well, which is funded by 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21CCLC). There are also plans to sponsor a “family night” with “Choose Kindness” as its theme.

In Appleton, the Curriculum’s reach extends beyond the classroom and the students’ families, however. Kindergarteners at Horizons are making dog treats in class to bring to Chances Animal Rescue Inc., a local no-kill shelter with the primary mission of rescuing pets from shelters where they are at risk of euthanasia. Musolf says that she and the students are passionate about this work and that members of the community can help support the shelter by adopting, volunteering or donating. As not only a dedicated educator but also someone who has rescued animals since childhood, she loves the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, calling it “an answer to a prayer.”

The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum team and its partners congratulate the winners and thank all who participated. To view all of the winning videos, visit

The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is an innovative program that builds on the affinity between children and animals, providing a unique context to teach compassion, empathy and social responsibility. Developed by the Yale School of the 21st Century in collaboration with North Shore Animal League America, and graciously funded by the Millan Foundation, the Curriculum highlights the unique characteristics and desirability of shelter dogs, known as Mutt-i-grees.

Animal activist and world-renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan officially established the Cesar Millan Foundation with the mission to create and deliver community humane education programs and promote animal welfare. Since its inception in 2007, the Cesar Millan Foundation has provided grants and materials to hundreds of non-profit animal organizations to support the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of abused and abandoned dogs, donated emergency assistance through the Daddy's Emergency Animal Rescue (DEAR) Fund, and contributed critical funding and professional insight to develop The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum with The Pet Savers Foundation, in collaboration with the Yale University School of the 21st Century. For more information visit

Animal League America has saved more than 1,000,000 lives. As the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization, we understand that a rescue isn’t complete until each animal is placed into a loving home. Our innovative programs provide education to reduce animal cruelty and advance standards in animal welfare. Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly in the pursuit of our vision of a world where all companion animals find permanent homes to end euthanasia. For more information, visit


Devera Lynn
North Shore Animal League America
Office - 516.883.7633
Mobile - 516.474.5332
[email protected]