Miranda Santella, Sophia Staples-Myers, Michelle Wilson, and Paulina Correa pet Ollie during a visit by Woods Animal Shelter to the Wellness Center. Photo by Morgan Orgeron
On Dec. 3, Jamie Relth, Woods Humane Society’s Humane Education Coordinator, visited AHS with her dog Ollie to give an informational presentation to students in the Wellness Center during Study Hall. Relth talked about responsible pet care, animal safety and kindness, preventing overpopulation, and professions that involve animals.
Students were able to ask questions about their pets or about what Woods Humane Society does. Relth discussed the importance of spaying and neutering pets to counter overpopulation, volunteer opportunities for students at Woods, information about different careers that work with animals, and more. Relth said, “My goal with presentations in general is to help spread the word to pet owners of the future about being safe and respectful around dogs, the responsibilities involved in good pet care, the overpopulation issue we face and how to help solve it by adopting and by spaying/neutering, and the many rewarding careers and volunteer opportunities out there that help animals in need.”
Also, everyone enjoyed petting Ollie, who has been on hundreds of similar trips to schools, and seeing him perform some tricks. “The main hope with all presentations is that the students are able to make a meaningful connection with a dog so that their compassion and empathy for dogs, and for all living beings, might grow… since we were in the Wellness Center, it was a great opportunity to experience the wellness benefits and natural therapy that animals offer. Dogs can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, lower heart rate, alleviate depression, and more. I hope that experiences like this help to strengthen young peoples' bonds with dogs and cats so that the next generation of adults can help to advocate for them and adopt them,” Relth added.
Originally, the presentation was going to include kittens to play with, but after a very successful “Black Friday Sale” event at the Woods SLO and North County shelters, all of their kittens had been adopted!