Compassion is Cool: Inspiring Kids to be a Hero for Animals
Many of Animal Aid’s 32,500 animal rescues would not have been possible without the help of kids. Younger children have given their parents the rescue line number; older kids have reported animal problems themselves.
Animal Aid has focused on one key message for 10 years: YOU can save a life! Getting that message into the hearts and minds of young people has involved making hundreds of presentations in schools.
Children have seen suffering animals on the street, but without knowing there is an emergency help line for animals, they pass the animals by.
When we meet children in classrooms, we show them posters of familiar sights — dogs with mange, animals with open wounds, fractured legs, paralysed hind-quarters — and we say, “This animal needs YOU to save her life!” Exciting rescue stories like the piglet who was rescued from the well make the kids “Ooo” and “Ahh” and before-and-after photos bring out emotions of surprise and relief.
We tailor the presentation to the different age groups. Kids under 13 are fascinated by the rescues and the medical treatments, while kids above 13 are also interested in learning about police cases against animal cruelty, and can grasp more complicated issues like the suffering of parakeets in cages — a common “pet” in this region — and the right to freedom that all living beings deserve.
Animal Aid stickers promoting rescue for suffering street animals are given in each class for students to put up in a prominent place near their home, such as the neighborhood store. Kids “win” the stickers by answering questions like, “Give three examples of animal cruelty,” and, “Give three ways to make friends with a street dog.”
By the end of the class, when we ask the question, “What is the first thing to do when you see a suffering animal?” everyone shouts in unison, “CALL ANIMAL AID!!!”