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Fourth Grade’s “Furry” Field Trip
By: Fourth Grade Teachers Amy McMullin Taylor Miles
Rossman School fourth graders recently took a field trip to the Humane Society of Missouri, an organization that fights against cruelty towards animals and provides shelter to homeless and lost pets. Prior to our trip, fourth graders and their families collected items to donate to the shelter. Every morning, a new pile of blankets, toys, towels, and pet food would appear in the corner of our classroom.
Excitement buzzed through the air when the day of our field trip finally arrived. The students loaded car trunks with their donations and headed to Macklind Avenue with our generous parent volunteers.
Upon arriving at the Humane Society, we were greeted by many sincere thanks for our abundant donations. The students worked hard to stay calm and quiet so they wouldn’t excite the animals. Once we were all seated, Ms. Laurie, a Humane Society volunteer, introduced us to her dog, Frank, and told us the story of how he came into her life. Ms. Laurie found Frank abandoned on the side of the road near her house. He was scared and malnourished, and at first ran away from her. But Ms. Laurie didn’t give up. She took Frank to the Humane Society so he could get medical care and nourishment. When no one had come to claim Frank, Ms. Laurie decided to give him a loving home herself.
Now, Frank is very sweet, obedient and a certified therapy dog. He enjoyed wandering around the students seated on the floor, and they adored petting his soft fur and observing his silly quirks. The volunteers told us many other passionate stories about the pets that were sheltered there — many of them abandoned, mistreated, or sick — and how far they had come since being brought to the Humane Society.
Next, we split into groups and toured the building with the volunteers. We strolled through the cat and dog rooms. The animals were so excited to see people coming through that they jumped against the glass and barked and meowed for attention. Though the kids were trying to be quiet, many couldn’t help but whisper, “Awww!” or “I want that one!” The volunteers also assigned each student a “treasure pet.” They were given the photo and name of one animal to find during the tour, and then encourage other people in their life to adopt him/her. The children were excited to spot their “treasure pets” as they strolled through the shelter.
Another highlight of the tour was getting to see live surgeries in the veterinary department. We warned the students about possibly getting nauseous or queasy while watching the surgery in action, but they were incredibly brave. Some were downright fascinated. We think there are some future doctors and veterinarians in this group!
The morning flew by, and suddenly it was time to head back to Rossman. We all waved goodbye to the animals, many of us yearning to return for a new family pet. As we reflected on our experience, the students expressed how amazed they were that the Humane Society volunteers could handle and care for so many pets. They all agreed that the Society’s mission is essential to our community and they are grateful to have a safe, loving place for lost or homeless animals to get another chance at life. This helped the students comprehend the importance of adopting pets and volunteering for important causes.
The fourth graders will continue their class service in the spring by hosting a bake sale, from which all proceeds will go to the Humane Society.