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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesNot for Profit: Animal Care Club

Not for Profit: Animal Care Club

Magnolia helps teach Kiahra Boynes and Danny Perez how to care for dogs.The young members of the Animal Care Club at Julius E. Sprauve School are learning many skills, but Animal Care Center of St. John President Diana Ripley hopes the one lesson they’re remember is that pets need the same thing as humans.

She told the youths that they need food and water, shelter, medical care, exercise, and love.

“Would you be happy not getting any water?” she asked the half dozen students who were busy scratching Magnolia’s tummy while the yellow Labrador retriever slurped at her water dish.

Magnolia, Maggie for short, is Ripley’s dog, and she’s a regular participant at the Animal Care Club’s weekly meetings. The youths have learned to first ask Ripley’s permission to pet Magnolia, then let her sniff their hands before petting her. And they also learned if the dog owner says no, they should respect that decision.

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Ripley sees that the Animal Care Club teaches the youths not to be afraid of dogs. She said that’s particularly important because too many of their experiences are with dogs left chained outside without adequate food and care.

“Did you know it’s illegal to fight dogs?” she asked the youths.

She said that every week she hears horror stories from the youths of dogs who died. Danny Perez, 12, had a tale to tell about a dog that fell off the porch while tied up. The dog choked to death because the leash wasn’t short enough to keep the dog on the porch and not long enough to let it reach the ground.

Ripley also pointed out that people tie their dogs in the back of trucks but with a leash that allows them to jump off but not long enough so they can land on the ground. They usually meet the same fate as the one in Perez’s story.

The Animal Care Club started when school began in September as one of the Animal Care Center’s outreach projects. Ripley plans visits to other St. John schools, and when she’s done introducing the students to dog care, she’ll let them get to know some cats. She said she needs some volunteers to help out with various aspects of the student outreach.

The club’s advisor, Sprauve teacher Diane Cameron, got the students involved in a discussion about Alaska’s Iditarod, an annual dog race between Anchorage and Nome that commemorates a trip made in 1925 to deliver diphtheria vaccine to Nome residents threatened by an epidemic.

Since September, the students visited the Animal Care Center’s shelter, learned how to care for dogs, saw DVDs about dogs, and recently, had a lesson on various dog breeds.

“The German Shepherd is used as a police dog,” she said, telling the students that the one that works on St. John only understands Czechoslovakian because his handler doesn’t want anyone else to give the dog commands.

After the indoor lessons, the youths and Magnolia headed for the Sprauve School field to toss the ball. When the students had good aim, Magnolia caught it in her mouth before returning the ball. Both the youths and Magnolia seemed to be equally enjoying the exercise.

“This is a club that’s really great,” Kiahra Boynes, 9, said, summing it up.

Those interested can help with the program by calling Ripley at 693-5869.

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Magnolia helps teach Kiahra Boynes and Danny Perez how to care for dogs.The young members of the Animal Care Club at Julius E. Sprauve School are learning many skills, but Animal Care Center of St. John President Diana Ripley hopes the one lesson they’re remember is that pets need the same thing as humans.

She told the youths that they need food and water, shelter, medical care, exercise, and love.

“Would you be happy not getting any water?” she asked the half dozen students who were busy scratching Magnolia’s tummy while the yellow Labrador retriever slurped at her water dish.

Magnolia, Maggie for short, is Ripley’s dog, and she’s a regular participant at the Animal Care Club’s weekly meetings. The youths have learned to first ask Ripley’s permission to pet Magnolia, then let her sniff their hands before petting her. And they also learned if the dog owner says no, they should respect that decision.

Ripley sees that the Animal Care Club teaches the youths not to be afraid of dogs. She said that’s particularly important because too many of their experiences are with dogs left chained outside without adequate food and care.

“Did you know it’s illegal to fight dogs?” she asked the youths.

She said that every week she hears horror stories from the youths of dogs who died. Danny Perez, 12, had a tale to tell about a dog that fell off the porch while tied up. The dog choked to death because the leash wasn’t short enough to keep the dog on the porch and not long enough to let it reach the ground.

Ripley also pointed out that people tie their dogs in the back of trucks but with a leash that allows them to jump off but not long enough so they can land on the ground. They usually meet the same fate as the one in Perez’s story.

The Animal Care Club started when school began in September as one of the Animal Care Center’s outreach projects. Ripley plans visits to other St. John schools, and when she’s done introducing the students to dog care, she’ll let them get to know some cats. She said she needs some volunteers to help out with various aspects of the student outreach.

The club’s advisor, Sprauve teacher Diane Cameron, got the students involved in a discussion about Alaska’s Iditarod, an annual dog race between Anchorage and Nome that commemorates a trip made in 1925 to deliver diphtheria vaccine to Nome residents threatened by an epidemic.

Since September, the students visited the Animal Care Center’s shelter, learned how to care for dogs, saw DVDs about dogs, and recently, had a lesson on various dog breeds.

“The German Shepherd is used as a police dog,” she said, telling the students that the one that works on St. John only understands Czechoslovakian because his handler doesn’t want anyone else to give the dog commands.

After the indoor lessons, the youths and Magnolia headed for the Sprauve School field to toss the ball. When the students had good aim, Magnolia caught it in her mouth before returning the ball. Both the youths and Magnolia seemed to be equally enjoying the exercise.

“This is a club that’s really great,” Kiahra Boynes, 9, said, summing it up.

Those interested can help with the program by calling Ripley at 693-5869.