Future Problem Solvers: Pets Are Worth Saving
Community problem solvers of Rymfire Elementary School are on a mission to help train dogs using a universal set of commands to give the dogs a higher chance of being adopted.
Project PAWS, which stands for Pets Are Worth Saving, is an initiative of 10 students and Kate Sturman, a Future Problem Solvers teacher, benefiting the Flagler Humane Society.
Young dogs are sometimes surrendered when they are more unruly or wild than their owners excepted, according to Magdalena Grzona, surrender/intake specialist at FHS.
To solve the problem, the group is teaching dogs, staff members and volunteers four basic obedience commands: sit, stay, down, and leave it. They are guided by Lauren Driscoll, a professional dog trainer, and leader of the Paws of War program.
The group has also set up signs on the dog-walking path that state each of these commands, so when a dog walker comes to the sign while walking the dog, he will stop and practice the command in exchange for a treat.
In time, these formerly ill-mannered dogs will have learned the four basic commands that their new owners can continue to use, making the dogs much more adoptable, Sturman said. To add to their effort, the group is creating a how-to video for the community.
The fifth and sixth graders meet each Thursday and every second Sunday. They said they feel joy at seeing the dogs adopted — and they love playing with the dogs in the process.
Since August, the group members have trained seven dogs, and four of them have been adopted.
Another way to help the Humane Society is coming up: 1-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1 is the Festival of Wreaths at The Windsor in Palm Coast.