Our humane education programs are unique, fun, and memorable for students of all ages. Read on to learn about the many ways our Miracle Mutts education-assistance dogs are changing the future for Kern County’s companion animals, by instilling compassion, positive feelings, and a sense of personal responsibility toward animal stewardship in Kern County’s youth.
Contact Liz Kover, director of Miracle Mutts, with any additional questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
The goal of the Miracle Mutts Education initiative is to help cultivate a new generation of animal stewards and responsible pet guardians in Kern County. Because kids learn most effectively, and are impacted most profoundly when learning is fun, our humane education presentations are engaging and exciting for students of all ages.
Assemblies include live training demonstrations, and cover topics such as:
- What we do at Marley’s Mutts, and in the Miracle Mutts program
- The parallel needs of people and pets, not only for survival, but for thriving in our lives
- The importance of spaying, neutering, and microchipping pets
- Why training dogs is so important, and how we do it using positive reinforcement
- The special roles of therapy and service dogs
We have one presentation for grades TK-3, and another for grades 4-6, and can perform them back-to-back to accommodate the whole student body.
* We suggest a donation to Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue (specifically to the MIRACLE MUTTS program) in the amount of $175 for one assembly, and $250 for two (back-to-back).
Barks & Books:
Barks & Books utilizes the human-canine bond to increase children’s reading comprehension - and enjoyment - as they read stories aloud to loving, nonjudgmental, four-legged listeners. Research suggests that students across grade levels show improvements in reading and writing skills, as well as a more positive attitude and increased enthusiasm for reading, after participating in canine-assisted reading programs like Barks & Books.
Typical pressures and anxieties tend to melt away in the presence of our caring canine tutors; self-consciousness gives way to feelings of safety and comfort, allowing adverse feelings about reading to subside, and the joy of reading to take hold!
At select Kern County libraries (Barks & Books at Kern County Libraries is free to the public.)
Bring your kids, ages 4-12, to sit in a quiet area of the library and read aloud to one of our calm, sweet and snuggly Miracle Mutts.
Southwest Branch Library
8301 Ming Ave.2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month
Call 661-664-7716 ahead of time to reserve a space.
Beale Memorial Library
701 Truxtun Avenue
4th Wednesday of the month
Call 661-868-0701 to reserve a space ahead of time.
Tehachapi Branch Library:
212 S. Green St.
1st and 3rd Monday of the month
Walk-ins accepted, no appointment necessary
In the classroom, or as a school-wide event
Integrating Barks & Books into lesson plans can turn a regular class session into something magical and unforgettable! It’s also an innovative way to incentivize and/or reward students for reaching individual or collective reading goals!
There are a few different ways we can set up:
For Pre-K & Kindergarten
We divide students into as many groups as there are dogs; each group congregates around the dog (and that dog’s handler) in a specific area of the gym, auditorium, cafeteria, classroom, lawn, or whatever other space has been designated for use beforehand. The handler will introduce the dog and talk a little bit about his or her history. Then, the handler will read aloud to the kids, during which time they will be able to pet and snuggle with the dog while listening to the story. Depending on the dog, time constraints, etc., the handler may do some interactive training demos with the kids after story time.
For students in grades 1-5
The same goes for Setup #2 as for Setup #1, except that the dog’s handler will start out reading aloud, but then pass the book around so that students can take turns reading aloud to the rest of the group. During this time, kids will be able to pet and snuggle with the dog. Depending on the dog, time constraints, etc., the handler may do some interactive training demos with the kids after story time.
For students in grades Pre-K-5
If teachers prefer this setup, students can read to the dogs individually (in increments of 10-15 minutes, depending on the number of dogs available, and the number of students in the group); students will rotate out and take turns reading to the dogs.
In the Community
You’ll often find our therapy dogs curled up on blankets with kids and books during family-oriented events around town. Is your school or organization having an event at which the presence of calm, furry reading companions might be fitting? Let us know!
To bring Barks & Books to your school or community event
The first thing you’ll need to do is fill out the interest form here: https://www.marleysmutts.org/miracle-mutts/. Once we receive your info, we’ll get back with you to discuss details.
- For school and community related reading events, we ask that teachers/hosts provide books that are age and subject-matter appropriate for the kids who will be reading. Miracle Mutts volunteers will bring blankets for kids and dogs to lounge on while they read. We are currently building a Barks & Books library, so dog or pet-related story book donations are much appreciated!
* For Barks & Books reading events in schools or at community events, we suggest a donation to Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue (specifically to the MIRACLE MUTTS program) in the amount of $150.
PLEDG: Positivity, Leadership, & Empathy in Dog Guardianship (8-Week Humane Education course for Grades 4-6)
The PLEDG course integrates CA Common Core (health education) standards, and PBIS behavioral expectations, into hands-on exercises with our education-assistance dogs to create an innovative learning experience with academic, emotional, social, and practical applications.
*The PLEDG course consists of 6 hours of coursework. Ideally, this occurs over eight, 45-minute long segments, once per week over an eight-week period. However, we can adjust how classes are spaced out per teachers’ specific requests, should a full eight-week schedule not be feasible.
Upon completion of the PLEDG course, students will be able to:
- Teach dogs basic obedience commands using positive reinforcement
- Understand that nurturing our inner-leader brings out the best in our dogs
- Interpret dogs’ body language, and accompanying emotional state, through an empathic lens
- Describe a “week in the life” of a pet dog who is not only surviving, but thriving in his/her environment
- Connect the personal responsibility of being a pet guardian, with efforts to curb the pet overpopulation crisis in Kern County
PLEDG integrates Common Core standards for (*4th and 5th) grade health education
Many of our Therapy Dogs come from abusive backgrounds; some of them were hurt by “bullies” of the worst kind, and have suffered physically and emotionally because of it. Using their stories of resilience, we show students why treating and training our pets with love and respect is so important; and so much more effective than methods that are punitive, or based on feelings of anger or frustration. These dogs provide a living example of how encouragement, motivation, and support set our dogs up for success, just as they do for us. Here are just some of the Common Core standards embedded in the PLEDG curriculum:
* Common core standards can be adjusted based on grade level – PLEDG can be implemented in grades 4-6.
1.3.S: Describe the different types of bullying and harassment
1.4.S: Describe the effects of bullying and harassment on others
1.18.S: Explain how courtesy, compassion, and respect toward others reduce conflict and promote non-violent behavior
2.1.S: Analyze how emotions contribute to both safe and violent behaviors.
8.2.S: Offer friendship and support to someone who was bullied.
5.1.P: Use a decision-making process to determine personal choices that promote personal, environmental, and community health.
PLEDG provides a framework for implementing PBIS classroom management initiatives
The ultimate goal of a PBIS classroom management plan is to foster intrinsic motivation in students, and create a school environment that is positive, safe, and achievement-oriented. Here are just a few ways that our program fulfills these requirements:
- Using rewards-based dog training methods creates a culture of positivity in the classroom that benefits students, dogs, and educators. Its aim is also to build intrinsic motivation toward good behavior in dogs.
- Using the dogs themselves (i.e. the handling of them) as a “reward” for students’ good behavior implores students to do and be their best.
- Using the PBIS framework with students, and a rewards-based training framework with dogs, yields similar behavioral results in students and dogs, respectively. When students and dogs come together to work toward common goals, the “unified framework” is more effective still.
Research on canine-assisted interventions in academic settings has only begun to scrape the surface of the potential that exists there. Our courses offer meaningful learning experiences to children who might otherwise not be exposed to the value, even the life-changing influence, of the human-canine bond. We hope you will consider bringing this experience to your students! Please visit our website: https://www.marleysmutts.org/miracle/, and/or contact us for more information: email@example.com
* For the PLEDG course, we suggest a donation to Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue (specifically to the MIRACLE MUTTS program) in the amount of $1000. We encourage teachers to have students raise the money themselves by implementing our “Mutt Militia Youth Corps CHANGE drive” fundraiser; email us for information on how to get your class started.
Our PLEDG curriculum can be customized to help Scouts fulfill requirements for pet care and dog-related badges, belt loops, and pins.
Vocational Skills Workshop
Pet products and services comprise a multibillion dollar industry that offers a vast array of career possibilities. In this workshop, we discuss many fun and interesting jobs available to those interested in working with animals, and provide opportunities for hands-on practice at dog handling, walking, grooming, and training.
“Mutt Militia Youth Corps” Change Drive & Fundraising Project
At Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue, we seek to instill in a younger legion of animal advocates, the drive it takes to make real and lasting change. Through the transformative influence of the human-canine bond, our outreach and education programs inspire students of all ages to recognize the problems facing companion animals today, and become an integral part of the solution for a NO-KILL tomorrow in Kern County.
By collecting change in your classrooms, and complimenting what students’ creating a “peer-to-peer” fundraising campaign for and with your class, sharing your campaign across social media platforms, and raising funds at various impact levels, your group of young people will have the opportunity to join forces with a decorated and internationally renowned animal welfare organization, in providing voices for the voiceless, hope to the hopeless, and loving homes to the (canine) homeless! Thank you for helping us show kids that their passion for animals matters…and truly makes a difference!
TEACHERS, SCOUT LEADERS, & HOMESCHOOL PARENTS: Contact us for more information on starting a fundraising campaign in your classroom, troop, or homeschool setting! Message us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive more information on our youth fundraising opportunities, and to receive a change receptacle for your school.
Raising FUNds for Miracle Mutts
Classes/Groups that raise money at all impact levels get a visit from the Miracle Mutts therapy dog team!
Marley’s Mutts appreciates donations in any amount, big or small! Helping a classroom of students to fundraise at this impact level offers those students the opportunity to put their compassion for animals into action, in a way that is effectual and meaningful in the real world of dog rescue!
Goal: $150: $150 sponsors a Barks & Books reading event.
Classes that raise funds at this impact level will earn a visit from the Miracle Mutts Therapy Dog team, the opportunity to read aloud to the dogs and watch the dogs “learn how to read” themselves (through positive reinforcement training).
$250 sponsors two educational assemblies, which can be performed back-to-back on the same day, or on two separate days.
$500 sponsors visits from the Miracle Mutts therapy dog team in multiple classrooms. The visits include a lesson in positive reinforcement dog training, interactive training demonstrations, and lots of pets and cuddles for students, teachers, and staff alike. We can do multiple classroom visits in one day, or spread them out across multiple days.
$1000 sponsors an 8-week PLEDG course for one classroom (or selected group) of students.
Classes or student groups are welcome to raise money to sponsor other schools’ educational programs as well.
To schedule an assembly, class, seminar, or reading event:
Please fill out this form: https://www.marleysmutts.org/miracle/
Once we receive it, we will get back with you to discuss details.
We appreciate your support!
Donations to Marley's Mutts are tax deductible, and help us achieve our goal of educating, inspiring, and empowering the kids (and adults) of Kern County. Education our youth is one of the most fundamental ways to make Kern a NO KILL county!
Contact Liz Kover, director of Miracle Mutts, with any additional questions: email@example.com