PANDORA — Dogs, kittens, a turtle and rabbit made a visit to 40 fourth graders at Pandora-Gilboa School for an Animal Encounter Day Thursday.
The students parents and grandparents brought the pets owned by the students near the end of the day in celebration of National Dog Day that was Aug. 26 and encourages dog ownership.
Stephen and Tammie Bishop brought their granddaughter Sydney Brown’s 6-month-old St. Bernard Lili to the event. Brown adopted the dog from Petco in Columbus.
Brown watched the movie “Beethoven” with her parents when she first got the dog. The movie’s featured character is a St. Bernard.
“Her dogs provide her love and support and teaches her about responsibility,” Tammie said.
Brown said she has two other dogs at home in addition to Lili and loves to raise them.
Kaylee Kisseberth brought her son Kaleb’s 4-month-old cat in a carrier bag.
“The cat is a big comfort for my son. We have another older cat who is not as interested in playing so having the younger cat helps him,” Kisseberth said. She said having the cats has taught her son responsibility in giving the cat food and water and cleaning out its litter box.
“I like how small my kitten is and how my cat sleeps next to me at night,” Kaleb said.
Jocelyn Hohenbrink, fourth-grader, showed her rabbit, Peanut, to her classmates as she rubbed its soft fur.
“My rabbit likes to eat grass and she likes people,” Hohenbrink said. In addition to owning the rabbit she and her sister own two horses and two dogs.
Joyce Suter, fourth grade teacher, came up with the idea for the encounter day five years ago. It is in collaboration with the students reading the book “Because of Winn-Dixie” they started reading on Aug. 19 and will finish the book today. A Winn-Dixie party will be today and just like in the book students will eat peanut butter and egg salad sandwiches.
Raising and interacting with animals teaches the students about responsibility. Many of them have animals at home and they enjoy seeing each others pets,” Suter said.
The New York Best Selling book by Author Kate DiCamillo published in 2000 is about a young girl in Florida who goes to the grocery store and discovers a dog in the store. She rescues the dog and learns about friendship when moving to a new place.
Logan Smith, fourth grade teacher, said in previous years student’s parents have brought in horses, a hermit crab and insects.
“This teaches them responsibility and reading about taking a stray animal in the story connects to the students because a lot of them have pets,” Smith said.
Jodi Schroeder, Pandora-Gilboa principal, said it is exciting that kids can share their animals with one another.
“Having pets help builds relationships where they can talk about their pets and teachers can incorporate lesson plans about animals,” Schroeder said. She said raising pets helps build the students self esteem as they learn how to care for pets.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.