Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v07n09)
Howling at the Moon by Susan Smith
posted: Apr. 30, 2010
I am so impressed with all of us. We as people are really doing great things for our animal friends. So many of us are volunteers with a variety of good causes; everything from fostering with various breed rescue groups, involvement with pet therapy and feeding and caring of feral cats, to name a few. There are so many organized events that raise awareness and money for animals in need. Sunday, April 25th, "the day the track goes to the dogs" was the annual Mutt Strutt at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, benefiting The Humane Society of Indianapolis. Thousands of you were there shelling out $25-35.00 for registration. Think of the dollars that are generated. Also consider the manpower to put it all together and the generosity of the many sponsors, big and small. What a wonderful coming together of community for the love of animals.
We, on College Avenue, also had a coming together of community. You read about it last issue. Fifteen different businesses from 54th to 49th contributed to the celebration of Butler's Final Four Basketball playoff. We had a big dog party at City Dogs Grocery and raised money for Indiana Bull dog Rescue. It was a total blast honoring the Butler mascots - Blue II, the English Bull dog and Hink, the costumed student mascot. What a great job they did representing the team! Approximately one hundred dogs attended and all got goodie bags. While it was great fun, it's nice that the rescue group benefitted.
Do you know about ICAN (Indiana Canine Assistant Network)? From their web site I learned that "ICAN was founded in late 2001 by Sally Irvin, PH.D, who was inspired by the idea of creating positive and powerful connections between at-risk individuals, animals, and people with physical disabilities and developmental disabilities. ICAN is based in Indianapolis and serves residents of Indiana, with occasional client placements outside of the state. The ICAN program began at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility with incarcerated adolescents. Today, the program engages the abilities of adults incarcerated within Indiana correctional facilities to help train the dogs for service work. Dogs are trained for almost two years by select offenders who apply for and are given a training job with ICAN." There are many volunteers with this group. One came into my store two weeks ago. She is raising and fostering a puppy until it reaches a certain age where it will then be placed with a prison inmate who will train it to be of service to a person with disabilities. This is clearly a win-win for the people involved. The inmates really benefit. The training of the dogs develops life, communication, and job skills that will serve them well when they are released from prison and return to their communities. I get their newsletter and the last one really moved me. Here's an excerpt . . . ..
I teach a self-contained classroom with K-2 students who have Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (EBD). My students have trouble expressing frustration or anger in appropriate ways and experience "meltdowns" almost every day. Each student reacts differently, but many meltdowns can become aggressive and violent. I met Monon a year ago and immediately had a special connection with her beautiful brown eyes and floppy ears. In just three short weeks, Monon has changed my students' lives and my life in more ways than I ever imagined. Her first day at school, Monon sensed that one of my more unpredictable students was getting upset over a computer program. Monon went over immediately and placed her head in his lap and let him pet her. He was so calm that he finished the program without any other signs of frustration for the first time all year. Monon's second day was even more moving. I have a student that had been exhibiting screaming fits of rage for two to three hours every afternoon for the previous nine days. That particular day was no exception. As soon as the student came into my room for a time-out screaming, Monon went straight to the time-out room and pawed at the door to be let in. I asked my student if she wanted to see Monon and she stopped screaming immediately and said "yes." I brought Monon into the room and we talked about how to earn treating and petting Monon (sensory break, four minute time-out, and finish our work that we are missing). My student did all of the steps and an HOUR of work just to give Monon a treat. Also, the time-out lasted 15 minutes compared to three hours. My principal and I were crying tears of joy because it was so remarkable!
After reading that, I think the teacher is remarkable. Give yourself a pat on the back for all you do and your donations and contributions. It's what makes a community whole. And if you have adopted a pet from a shelter or a rescue group give yourself a second pat. Pets make you smile.
Susan Smith is a life-long area resident and is the owner of City Dogs Grocery located at 52nd and College. Send your pet related questions/comments to susan@BroadRippleGazette.com