MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

November 21, 2012

Program helps teens, dogs

A program that merges the needs of dogs at the Muskogee Animal Shelter with those of students from the Rougher Alternative Academy promises to be beneficial to both.

RAA students take some of the shelter’s dogs for walks, then brush and play with them.

The benefits for the dogs are easily understood — a wagging tail will tell the story.

The benefits for the students may be less obvious, but could be more meaningful.

“Research has shown that working with animals is beneficial to kids,” RAA counselor Shirley Morgan-Glenn said. “They get a chance to be with something that accepts them no matter what.”

That’s no small statement.

Teens need the benefits of unconditional love every chance they get.

Animals, especially dogs, have a way of making people spending time with them feel special.

Show a dog some attention and that dog most likely will love you back.

Student BreAnna Smith looks forward to each visit.

“I just like dogs,”  Smith said. “They’re my favorite animal. They’re sweet and it’s like they know something’s wrong with you. And the dogs at the shelter haven’t had good homes. They need someone to love them and show to them that they’re appreciated.”

The students also learn about responsibility.

The visits show the students what happens when people are not responsible for their pets, Morgan-Glenn said.

This program helps teens and gets dogs’ approval, too.

That’s a worthwhile program.

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