The Academia Cristo Rey Middle School in Ponce, Puerto Rico has set a bar that is a tough act to follow. From rescue to nurture to adopt and educate they have our mission covered. Cristo Rey not only has a Mutt-i-grees School Dog (Anakin) but is part of our Mutt-i-grees School Cat Foster Program which continues to rescue and transport the kittens to the safety of our campus. The leadership for the programs is executed by our Global Student Ambassadors who named themselves the Cristo Rey Pawsitive Minds. These students are an inspiration to their fellow students, their teachers and us at North Shore Animal League America.
Two kittens were rescued by Naishlyn whose family became the kittens’ caretakers . Naishlyn named the kittens Princesa and Greishy. The Ambassador brings the kitties to the school for an introduction to the class while educating them on the felines’ plight. This is the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum: social emotional learning via humane education teaching empathy and the power of resiliency. On Saturday a group of the students went with Naishlyn to the veterinary office. It was the first time these students had been to an animal clinic. Following Naishyn’s lead, some elementary school students rescued another kitten. This cat had an eye infection and they too, will see to his medical needs as they feel he may be blind. They named this cat Brisa (Breeze). The students have not stopped. They continue to rescue kittens and cats that are homeless on the streets of Puerto Rico. North Shore Animal League America continues to support their efforts financing their medical care before they arrive at our campus for adoption. From rescue to adoption the students are learning a lesson in empathy and the educators see the importance of humane education to core curricula and how it enhances it with its hands-on engagement. Service learning at its finest, too!
“From rescue to adoption the students are learning a lesson in empathy and the educators see the importance of humane education to core curricula and how it enhances it with its hands-on engagement.”
In addition to their foster cats, they also have a Mutt-i-grees School Dog, Anakin whose pet parent is an administrator at the school and the parent of the Ambassador. In addition, two of her daughters are veterinary technicians who work with the kids, too. It’s a family event! Anakin was rescued with his two sisters near Naishlyn’s home. He was in shock and was being eaten by ants. The daughters ran to the veterinary clinic with him. He was a mere 12 ounces in weight. They stabilized him but recommended feeding him every two hours and this is how he became a Mutt-i-grees School Dog, so Luz (Naishlyn’s mom) could feed and care for him throughout the day. From students to educators, he has changed the entire school community. The Ambassadors care for Anakin while being involved in rescue and fostering.
None of this could happen without the dedication and support of the school, the teachers, and the parents – the community. It takes the world around you and the people you interact with within it to make positive change take place. To change attitudes and situations of despair to situations of joy with the helping hands of those that stand next to us, we can put our footprint on a better tomorrow.