During my first few months as an Education and Community Officer for Dogs Trust, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on our wider aims and how these aims are integral to supporting the work of our organisation.
In particular, the theme of responsible dog ownership is at the heart of many of our workshops and the children that we see are often shocked at the fact that we receive approximately 300 phone calls every single day from people who want to relinquish their dog to us for a variety of reasons.
When teaching our ‘Case Studies’ workshop, it has been heartening to witness children’s capacity to empathise with the dogs that have come into our care. For example, when discussing dogs that have been given up for reasons that are completely preventable (for example: breed specific needs; behavioural issues due to a lack of training or lack of enrichment), children are very eager to explain that people should do their research before getting a dog in the first place and understand the levels of commitment required. Therefore, we aim to ensure that all learners leave our workshops being able to demonstrate an understanding that a dog is a lifetime commitment, not a disposable commodity.
‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas.’
As education officers we are responsible for imparting the knowledge that the future generation need in order to change their attitudes towards and behaviour towards dogs and this is why I consider it an utter privilege to be a part the education team at Dogs Trust.