Last week when Maddie, my therapy dog and I made our weekly visit to the juvenile center, I had intended to talk to the kids about animal cruelty. However, when we arrived and there was only 1 teen there, I thought about saving this talk for a larger group. But for some reason I decided to go ahead and talk about what constitutes animal cruelty, what an individual can do about it, and the link between animal and human abuse.
|Dustin, a caseworker, with Maddie|
"Yes," came the surprising answer back. Surprising because of his rapid forthrightness with his response. "I've seen a relative hit his pit bull. But it was just a pit bull. I've hit a pit bull, too. But I would never hit a dog like that one," he said, motioning to Maddie.
|Maddie and me: We talk first and then the kids play with her|
|Ms. Maddie paying attention to "Mom"|
"You're not buying this, are you?" I asked him.
"I'm listening," he said.
|Maddie and Nick, another caseworker (he really loves her!)|
"Did you know animal cruelty is against the law in Colorado?"
"I don't pay much attention to the laws," he quipped.
"Hmm. Do you suppose that's why you're in here?" I was amazed at his response!
He smiled and shrugged. As he began playing with Maddie, I talked about the stereotype so many people have re: pit bulls; how it was humans who bred fighting genes into the breed and try to make them mean; and how at the turn of the century they were the family dog.
|Barb, juvenile center supervisor, with Maddie|