PAWS - KRTV Interview
PAWS KRTV INTERVIEW
The original interview is in Spanish. Below is an English transcript.
Well, here we are! We're back, and Maribel Orellana is joining us. You already know her; she comes from Weslaco Animal Care Services. And this time, she brought a pet with her. But first, I don't want to talk about a very important topic, Maribel. Good morning. How are you doing?
Good morning, I’m doing very well.
Did you have your morning coffee?
Just one, haha.
Well, Maribel, tell us about this spectacular program you are doing with the schools. How long ago did you start, and how does it work exactly?
We were just given the program, and we had our first function with a school that needed it, “Airport Elementary”. The program is called "Promoting Animal Welfare in Schools".
So, what we are planning is to go to schools and teach children what it means to be responsible and how to take care of puppies, and we bring a dog for them to take care of, as well as educational books, like this one, “Hello Edward”, who is this little dog here (“Shows Edward” the plush dog to the camera). This dog teaches children how to live with him. It teaches them that dogs don't judge, they love you without looking at how you measure up or what color your skin is.
Like Edward, who was rescued from the pound who has a deformity in his paw, but he loves everyone, regardless of anything, right?
Yes, of course.
Yes, he is the one who started the PAWS program with author Tracy Voss. After that, the second book we give to the children is "Poor Dixie."
In that book, the little dog has fleas and ticks. It teaches the children what fleas are, what ticks are, what heart worms are, and the bugs they have inside of them.
These are parasites, right? They are known as heartworms?
Yes, we teach the children about these things. We also have an activity called "With Love and My Veterinarian," where I show a picture of a dog with ear mites and then a dog that is healthy. The children have to guess which dog I am teaching them about.
Another activity we have is teaching the children the importance of spaying or neutering their dog. So, they learn math with it.
We have three folders. The same dog gives birth to puppies three times a year. Like 12 puppies, at most... The children put in 24, let's say 23, little monkeys in the folders, and then they see the reality of how many puppies that dog can have in one year.
And the problem that this represented for you, receiving these dogs. Sometimes the abandonment of these puppies, the maintenance, the care for them, what did that lead to?
And with all of this, with these tools, these materials, how did you feel during this first exhibition, this first explanation? Also, how was the reception from the children?
They loved it. They didn't see it as a lecture but as a day of dogs. Because for me, it's just a little dog, but they learned that it's important to take care of the animal.
It's important to be responsible. We had a child who said, "I have 9 dogs, and I have to spay them now so they don't have any more puppies”.
Well, they seem to be understanding the message.
Yes, they do indeed understand the message. These children were in third grade, and they understood that, "Oh, my dog has ticks. I need to tell my mom to buy medicines because that's not good for the dog."
Oh yes, they understand, and it's important to start teaching them from a young age so that the younger generation understands the importance of being responsible.
Now, you just touched on a very important point that I wanted to ask you about. The importance of starting from a young age, educating and showing them these types of problems. How can it benefit children in the long run? What other benefits can children gain from understanding these issues from a young age?
It's about understanding responsibility and what it takes to be responsible for having a blind dog. They will be able to take care of them and have the means to do so. Having the money to take them to the veterinarian to know if they will take the responsibility of having a dog or not, it's about not abusing it.
They will learn how to love the animal, and if they want to help the community, they can learn many things. It's not just about entertainment, playing with the dog. It's a very important moment.
That's right, not just that. They must provide medication, proper nutrition, water, veterinary care. Veterinary visits are very important, and we shouldn't overlook them. So, how long will you continue with this project? In which other schools?
We will start in the other "Spoiler Show" in August. We will start visiting all the schools in Weslaco. Of course, if we do all the schools in Weslaco, then we will try to go to two or three combined, not just in Weslaco.
Our plan is to cover the entire Valley.
If there's someone who would like you to visit their daycare center or any place, how can they contact you?
They can simply call 956-968-3181. Ask for Maribel Orellana, and we can arrange a meeting or an appointment to talk with anyone.
Any child, from kindergarten to 12th grade, can benefit from this program.
I just learned that this could benefit everyone, even adults. There are many people who are unaware of these topics. Maribel, thank you again for joining us here. Well, now you know. If you're interested, we've provided the phone number for you to contact them.
Ask for Maribel Orellana, and she will guide you through the process so that you can receive these types of courses and activities for children.