Teacher’s Pets

I have a great respect for teachers. It’s not only about reading writing and arithmetic. They play an important role in influencing their students in so many ways when they are away from the classroom too.

This week, an email landed in my in-box telling me about Ms. Kasey Brown a teacher at Wood Middle School in Alameda, California who has been teaching a special elective class to get students interested in animal welfare. Ms. Brown normally teaches math, but her new elective has been wildly popular with students.

For the holiday season Ms. Brown’s class researched how to make durable toys for dogs and cats and then went to work creating them as these photographs illustrate.


The class has already donated homemade toys to Friends of Alameda Animal Services and to the Oakland Animal Shelter in Oakland, California.

“I came up with the idea for the animal class because kids not only love animals, but they share what they learn at school with their friends, families and community,” explained Ms. Brown. “Educating kids about pet issues is the first line of defense in helping animals in many ways including the overpopulation crisis, abuse prevention and other issues that affect the lives of animals. Also, word-of-mouth from teacher to student to peer s and family is powerful.”

Bravo Ms Brown! You are “training” the next generation of shelter volunteers.


There is research that highlights that pets are good for our health. They certainly play an important role in our lives in so many other ways too. I believe that what these kids are learning in terms of respecting animals and understanding their wants and needs is certainly going to stand them in good stead.

Ms. Brown has also created a website called Teach About Pets which is almost ready to go “live” where teachers can go and find vetted lessons on companion animals. All lessons, fact sheets, videos are standards-aligned so teachers can find lessons fast and integrate into their curriculum easily.

And the information is free.