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Kids For Canines Hopes To Help Dogs, Community



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Kids For Canines Hopes To Help Dogs, Community

By Kendra Bobowick

Piggy trundled through the foyer sniffing for visitors.

Lucy approached more quickly as she scurried across hardwood where Amy Sullivan waited.

Crouching to scoop up Piggy, a black pug who lost first his sight then his eyes to disease, she said he moves through her home without a problem. Lucy the Chihuahua zipped through the foyer in agitation.

Her sons Ryan, 12, and Kyle, 8, let two boxers into the house, careful to manage Zeus, who is deaf, with hand signals.

Both boys are active in Kids For Canines, a group established in February with fundraising and awareness campaigns underway that are aimed at benefiting the Newtown Dog Pound, Canine Advocates of Newtown, and Newtown Social Services. Of deeper importance, however, is the lesson learned by her children and their friends.

“It’s not for the kids to just raise money. I want them to do something substantial,” explained Ms Sullivan, who wants members to make a connection with their community. “It’s about kindness and support.”

She noted that her children, including an older daughter Carly, and their friends “are inspired by the [rescued dogs] and inspired by my kids who take care of them.”

As her children learned to work with the dogs’ different sight and hearing deficiencies, she said, “It has made my kids kinder and more considerate because we have to do things differently,” Ms Sullivan said. The dogs also draw a crowd. At ball games and other events for her sons or daughter, she said, “I push Piggy in a stroller and the kids flock to him.”

When friends enter her house, she tells them, “Piggy is blind, just say hi first.” She believes that special attention paid to the dogs “teaches [the children] patience, acceptance.”

Noting their interest, she said, “All the kids wanted to help.” She thought, “If I can organize them all …” And she has.

In one email she wrote, “When my children’s friends meet our dogs they fall in love. I soon realized we needed to change everyone’s views [regarding dogs from the pound.] People may not be willing to give rescue dogs a chance.”

She stressed, “Kids love dogs and dogs love kids. They are our next generation of dog owners … they need ways they can make a difference with the animals in our community.”

From there, the Sullivans, the Pearson family of Newtown, and Animal Control Officer Carolee Mason, among other supporters including Casio Kennels LLC of Newtown, “decided to form a club where kids could help the dogs at the Newtown Pound, dogs in our community, and understand responsible pet ownership.”

The Kids For Canines motto is “Educate and encourage kids to appreciate and respect all canines through various educational programs, community activism and involvement.”

With an attachment for his special dogs, Kyle said, “They’re fluffy and fun to snuggle with and they make you happy.” He is eager to work to help the pound.

Campaigns For Canines

The first Kids For Canines campaign has been launched in the schools and other locations in town. The group is collecting items that are needed at the current dog pound. On the list for collection in boxes that have been placed around town are bedding, treats, dog food, dog or cat treats, cat litter, dog shampoo and conditioner, dog brushes, dog leashes, choke collars, old towels, and new or used collars. The collection runs through May.

Collection boxes, which various students will oversee, are in the schools and the Dental Associates office. Boxes are with Abigail Pearson in Ms Therrian’s fourth grade class at Middle Gate, with Kelsey Pearson in Ms LeBlanc’s second grade class, Caroline Condon in Ms Galassi’s fourth grade class at Hawley School, with Kyle Sullivan in his second grade class at Sandy Hook School, and with Ryan Sullivan at Dr Gilman’s Dental Associates office.

Additional boxes are with Julie Grande at Planet Beach, Joy Brewster at Casio Kennels, Carolee Mason at the Newtown Dog Pound, and with Liza Tananbaum’s Girl Scout Troop 50113. Carolee Mason also has boxes available at the pound during its business hours.

Participants will receive flyers to pass out to neighbors, classmates, scout troops, or teammates. All donations will be delivered to the pound.

The second campaign will feature a series of speakers during the summer and run into the fall. Dates have yet to be determined.

Third, a fall cleanup and holiday fundraising effort will begin, when Kids For Canines make and sell dog biscuits for $5 a bag.

“Together we can make a difference,” Ms Sullivan said.

 For more information send email to boxeramy@gmail.com or lpearson@bpirepro.com.

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