The Mutt-i-grees Global Ambassador program encourages students to volunteer giving voice to the voiceless and the most vulnerable whether they be homeless animals or humans. The program demonstrates that no matter your age you have the power to make positive change happen. In collaboration with their peers and community students can raise awareness and help put an end to animal abuse by creating change through their own actions and educating others. The animals aren’t the only ones who benefit. Students win by being immersed in humane education and developing service-learning skills. Educators win by participating in  a program that addresses social emotional learning. The shelter wins by gaining a unique population to support their mission. The community wins by aligning themselves with their youth to leaving their footprint for a better tomorrow.

Once a student is sponsored – mentored by an educator the opportunities are endless. For the school year, a student develops their own animal welfare and humane educational projects with a goal of inspiring and educating others along the way.

Our ambassadors have boundless energy and enthusiasm. The things they have accomplished in a short time, at such a young age, are astonishing. They fuel our mission to Rescue, Nurture, Adopt and Educate. We can’t do what we do without them. Please honor them by taking a moment to learn about some of their accomplishments.

Some Highlights

Ambassadors from Arkansas Shirley Elementary School, Maryland Stone Mill Elementary School and Long Island West Babylon Library made blankets for our Bosnia Ambassadors to distribute to the animals at the shelter and the ones the Ambassadors are fostering. Bosnia winters are freezing and many of the animals are in places that are exposed to the weather. Many dogs are homeless on the street and live with the constant threat of being killed by people in the community that despise dogs.

Maryland Ambassadors also supported our Moroccan Ambassador, Salma in her walk to raise funds to get a beloved street dog, Rita to the United Kingdom to her forever home.

Our Puerto Rico Ambassadors also work tirelessly to support the dogs and cats that are homeless and live on the street. These animals live with the constant threat of being poisoned or shot and killed. The Ambassadors came up with a brilliant idea to protect and feed them at the same time by building feeding routes through the countryside. They clear the woods making paths that they enclose with wood. Then, they place bowls of water and food to attract the animals. At the end of the route are traps they made filled with blankets the younger students made for the comfort of the animals until the students come to release and bring them to safety.

Hawaii President Theodore Roosevelt High School Paws and Claws Rescue Club was kept very busy preparing felines for North Shore Animal America’s Humane Relocation Transports. Dozens of cats found their way to their forever homes to our New York Campus. Especially, because of the Maui fire in August 2023, many cats were displaced, and the Ambassadors hit the ground running to save as many lives as they possibly could.

Our BOCES Ambassadors at The Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex and their Mutt-i-gree Foster Cat Program works in partnership with Animal League America’s North Country Initiative to foster cats in their Animal Science Program. Close to a dozen cats with social and medical challenges have been fostered from their classroom to permanent loving homes in their community. The school is a unique unconventional foster home opening space at the shelter to save more lives while giving high school students an opportunity to learn what it is to care for another living being without a voice that needs special care and much love to see them through their journey to the arms of a loving family.

Friends of Animals El Paso Animal Services in Texas welcomed Pebble Hills High School Ambassadors with open arms. The student volunteered at the city shelter assisting in multiple areas. From participating in offsite adoptions, to walking in city parades to promote adoption vs buying from a pet store. To microchipping and vaccinating at the shelter’s Free Clinics, to taking in community cats and preparing them for their surgeries, to assisting in their Free Pet Pantry the Ambassadors led the charge. They even joined in with the surgery team for spay/neuters! Beyond the shelter and into the community they canvassed neighborhoods to speak about the different resources available for pet parents at Friends of Animals and offered microchips right then and there. One of the students, Joshua, has done over 300 hours of volunteering at the shelter and their hope is that once he finishes school, he will come back to them as a veterinarian, which is Joshua’s dream.

Oklahoma Humane worked with Putnam City North High School. The shelter accomplished a large cat rescue in the Gulf Coast and in one day they altered 151 cats. An Eagle Scout group built four wooden cat trees for these beautiful lucky felines to have somewhere to rest their paws and socialize. With their outreach the shelter found some wonderful kitty fosters. We are grateful and so happy to have these new partners as part of our Mutt-i-gree Family. Working together to save lives!

Pinellas County Government Shelter and Richard O. Jacobson High School Veterinarian Technical students were on the move. The students volunteer at the shelter daily. Even when not working at the shelter they act. When the shelter staff sent an item wish list to the high school to furnish their cat socialization room, no time was wasted as supplies were gathered and toys were made to fill the cat room. When the Ambassadors are at the shelter they support the overall care of the animals. They work on basic training and socialization to help acclimate the animals outside of the shelter environment. This partnership with Pinellas County Shelter benefits all around as it allows students to practice hands-on skills with animals and be an integral part in raising awareness on adoption on their Instagram account , @techhighveterinary. They’ve so many successful adoption stories due to their social media and students advocating for animals by word of mouth in their community. Daily the shelter engages close to 40 students working hands-on with the animals. Over half of them participated in the Humane Relocation Program in partnership with North Shore Animal League America we did in April. Twenty-seven cats and dogs were relocated to our New York campus to be nurtured for adoption. The Ambassadors prepared them for the journey and carried them on to our mobile unit “Shelter On Wheels” upon its arrival. When the animals arrived to our Port Washington campus, our Brooklyn, New York Ambassadors carried them off of the unit and into the arms of our staff to ready for adoption. This is the first year we’ve had the honor to work with Richard O. Jacobson and we are so excited of what the future will continue to bring. These students are amazing.

New York’s Abraham Lincoln High School has been a most valuable friend and colleague of the Mutt-i-grees Program for over eight years. They were one of the first to participate in our Mutt-i-gree School Dog Program where they adopted a dog – now known as Nina – from a puppy mill rescue we had done. Beloved, beautiful Nina has been part of the daily life at Abraham Lincoln integrated into the daily life of the school – teaching lifelong lessons to students and staff. The students have participated in animal league America campus internships and their Global Ambassadors are always leading the pack! The school did a walk for Animal League America raising $1,000 for our mission. We are thrilled to collaborate with them year after year. We were so excited when they wanted to travel from Brooklyn to Port Washington to be on the receiving end of our Florida Humane Relocation Transport. They were there to meet our mobile unit and welcome the dogs and cats into their loving arms as they were carried to the safety of our shelter.

Last and certainly not, least are our Bosnia Ambassadors. These Mutt-i-grees Global Ambassadors face everyday challenges that we do not. Ranging from outlying community threats of dogs being poisoned and stolen, to political challenges, lack of funding and a country still suffering from the 1990’s genocide wars. Thanks to the extraordinary support of their school sponsor, their families, people in their community and the courage and tenacity of these students, so many animals have been rescued, fostered, and adopted. Adoption and rescue in Bosnia is very challenging. Many animals live on the street, many are discarded along the highway, and there is a lack of shelter support. These challenges did not deter the Ambassadors. They were not dismayed but navigated relationships in Denmark, Austria, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom to have the animals transported to no-kill shelters for potential adopters to pick-up at their local shelter. They are brilliant!

In winter they collect hay and food to sustain them until they are placed in a permanent home. Together the Ambassadors traveled to a ski resort to reach travelers who come to vacation at the resort in hopes of finding adopters. The manager of the resort lives on-site and adopted three of their rescues!

An entire family of dogs that were left on the side of the road were rescued by the Ambassadors and their sponsor. They were able to easily capture three of the four dogs luring them with food but they had to patiently wait for the fourth to trust them enough and they did just that for hours until they were successful.

The dogs aren’t the only benefactors. One of the Ambassador’s Day begins with feeding feral cats that live in a makeshift shelter she has in her yard. They also joined together to build cat houses for the feral cats they placed throughout the neighborhood.

These are merely a few highlights of some of our Ambassadors this year. Our biggest year ever we are thrilled to report. We would like to list all of them. They all deserve a mention. They fill us with hope and joy in their quest to save homeless animals and change the narrative of human vs non-human. They have demonstrated there is no divide – we are all one and need each other to sustain this earth bringing harmony and safety to all. The conversation and reality are sometimes disheartening but knowing we have each other fuels our mission to look at all the good our youth our doing to inspire by never giving up. Our heartfelt thanks to all our Global Ambassadors and shelter partners. We can’t do what we do without you. We are grateful.

Schools and Organizations

Sveti Sava School
Osnovna skola Sveti Sava
Animals We Care – Mostar Association and Animal Centre
PawFriends Assocation for Animal Protection
lillomones
World Wide Education Service, Hayati Home School
Lycée Français Victor Hugo de Marrakech
Road Homeschool
Academia Cristo Rey
Narodna Biblioteka Srebrenica
Establishment Les Printemps
ASK Trumau
Public Insitution Elementary School Vuk Karadzic Bratunac
Medicine Highschool Gemit Apeiron
Organisation for Animal Protection “Budjavci”
Pawfriends Sarajevo Animal Welfare Network Organisation
Green Valley Dogs Srebrenica, RS
Public Institution Kindergarten Poletarac Srebrenica
Stitching Dierenbemiddeling Europa
Assocation of Women War Victims of Republika Srpska
East Lake Elementary School
St Cloud Middle School
St Cloud Elementary School
Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology
Stone Mill Elementary School
Saint Anthony’s High School
Churchill School and Center
President Theodore Roosevelt High School
Richard O. Jacobson Technical High School at Seminole
Putnam City high school
Fenton Academies
Tarpon Springs High School
F. Donald Myers Education Center (WSWHE BOCES)
West Babylon Public Library
Mountain Youth Academy/Rescue DOG
PS 95 Gravesend School
Katherine Johnson Global Academy
Academy for College & Career Exploration
Shirley Elementary School
Shirley High School
P79M Horan School
Roslyn School District
Roosevelt School
Pebble Hills High School
Abraham Lincoln High School
James Wilson Young Middle School
Ashland Middle School
Lake Worth Middle School