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Teens receive lesson about Humane Hearts



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Bill Buck teaches eighth-grade students about the Humane Hearts program. ABBY BREAUX/Staff. (click for larger version)
March 25, 2013
CUMMING, Ga. — An alliance between six Forsyth County schools and Humane Hearts has helped students further their education.

Humane Hearts is a therapy program from the Humane Society of Forsyth County.

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Justin Meyer, eighth grade, receives a shake from Echo. ABBY BREAUX/Staff. (click for larger version)
Humane Hearts is owned by volunteers who dedicate their time to the community. Bill Buck and Echo are one of many pet-owner duos who participate in the program. The three main pet therapy programs that Humane Hearts offers are Paws to Read, educational visits to schools and elderly care visits to nursing homes. Humane Hearts is hoping to expand its Paws for a Warrior program, which provides animal therapy for veterans dealing with postpartum stress disorder.

As a retired middle school teacher, Buck enjoys being the team lead of the education program.

On March 21, Buck and Echo visited Cindy Hatcher's eighth-grade literacy class at Little Mill

Middle School, 6880 Little Mill Road in Cumming, to give a presentation about Dogs 101 for

Teens.

After the presentation, Echo performed tricks for the teens that provided interaction with the classroom. The doorway was filled with teens passing by hoping to catch a peek at Echo's talents.

"It is less intimidating for students to read or interact with a dog than it is with a human," said Jenn Von Essen, the program director of Humane Hearts. "This program helps students achieve educational goals that are already set in place by the county."

Humane Hearts hopes to continue to grow its relationship with the Forsyth County schools.

Some classrooms have begun to participate in "Homeroom for Hounds," which allows a class to "adopt" a dog from the humane society until that dog is adopted from the shelter. The classroom brings in different donations for their dog. This extra help from the classrooms provides a social networking that spreads the news about adoption faster.

"I find that dogs who are adopted by a classroom actually get adopted from the shelter sooner because students talk and spread the word," said Von Essen.

To learn more, visit www.forsythpets.org or call 770-887-6480.

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