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Tag: karma dogs

Ace goes to school for a lesson in love

Ace made a big impression on pre-k and kindergarten students at Baltimore’s Lakewood Elementary School yesterday, dazzling them with tricks, soaking up their pats and hugs and swearing in two classrooms whose students took the “Oath of Kindness,” a pledge to be kind to animals.

How this latest stop in our continuing travels came to pass was actually pretty simple, and amazingly bureaucracy-free.

A teacher friend asked if we’d visit. We said yes. She got the necessary clearances and, before you know it, a 130-pound Rottweiler-Akita-chow-pit bull mix was being snuggled, stroked and hugged by a bunch of children half his size.

Karma Dogs, the therapy dog organization of which Ace is a member, came up with two more volunteers who visited the school along with Ace and me –  Janet Shepherd and her dog Tami, and Kathryn Corrigan and her dog Puddy.

Together, we covered six classrooms in just over an hour, administering the oath, passing along some basic dog safety tips and stressing the importance of treating animals kindly.

Karma Dogs developed the ”Oath of Kindness” after the death of Phoenix, a pit bull puppy who was set on fire by Baltimore teenagers in the summer of 2009 — not the first, or last, case of its type in the city.

The oath reads: “I … pledge always to be kind to animals. I promise never to hurt an animal, be it dog or cat, furry or fat. I promise to tell my friends to be kind to animals and if I see an animal that is being hurt I will tell an adult right away. Scaly or slimy, feathered or blue, to this promise I will be true.”

After reciting the pledge, the children receive a certificate,which is “pawtographed” by the dog, in this case, Ace. The hope is that children who have openly declared they will not be violent towards animals will remember that, tell their friends and inform adults when they see an animal being taunted or abused.

Of the students Ace and I appeared before, about a dozen raised their hands when I asked who was afraid of dogs. But only one declined a chance to pet Ace. Several more had some trepidations, but those seemed to melt away as they watched the other children interact with him.

They were eager to ask questions, and talk about their own pets. One girl spent three minutes talking about her Chihuahua, which she said had the same name she did. Not until the end of her dissertation did she reveal that her dog was a stuffed toy.

I cautioned them against  approaching stray dogs, told them to always to ask the owner before approaching a dog, showed them how to let dogs sniff their hands as an introduction and encouraged them to treat dogs as they’d like to be treated — calmly, kindly and lovingly.

Ace made an impression on the children in several ways, I think –through his size alone, his gentleness and his back story: a stray adopted from the shelter, like most of the other Karma Dogs, who went on to try and help humans.

He also made an impression with his pawprint, stamped on each of the certificates that was handed out.

The teacher behind the event (who also took these photos) was Marite Edwards, a longtime friend of Ace’s. When she took the idea to her principal, she learned that the school and district were looking at ways to add dog safety and kindness to animals to the curriculum.

That another case of animal abuse surfaced in Baltimore over the weekend — that of a cat set on fire by two teenagers — confirmed just how much those lessons are needed.

You can find more information about Karma Dogs at its website.

(Photos by Marite Edwards)

How do you spell Big Dog?

Ace, after a bit of a hiatus, got back in the saddle as a Karma Dog yesterday at the Baltimore County Public Library’s Woodland branch.

Everyone agreed — as the wooden blocks attest — he was a sizeable canine.

Yesterday was the last of the season at the Woodland Library for HEARTS (Helping Encouraging All Readers to Succeed) — one of several Karma Dogs programs.

In it, children read to dogs, who because they don’t judge, criticize and correct, help students grow more confident in their reading skills.

A new round of summer reading programs start in June at the libraries in Towson and Pikesville, and in July in Whiteford

For more information about the reading program, go here. To learn how your dog could become a certified therapy dog, visit this page on the Karma Dogs website.

(Photo by Mary E. Isaacs)

Mayor Dixon takes the Oath of Kindness

Mayor Takes Oath 3Mayor Sheila Dixon, during her appearance at BARCStoberfest Sunday, agreed to take the Karma Dogs “Oath of Kindness,” administered on the spot by Karma Dogs co-founder Kelly Gould.

Karma Dogs (of which Ace is one) are primarily rescued dogs who, having been given a second chance, now work to improve the lives of others through relationships with therapy dogs. Karma Dogs work to improvie literacy skills among students, and also works with children and adults with developmental disabilities to improve their communication and socialization skills.

After the death of Phoenix, a pit bull set on fire in Baltimore, Karma Dogs instituted its “Oath of Kindness.” program.

Karma Dogs believes, as research suggests, that people who are unable to bond or empathize with animals have trouble developing and sustaining bonds with people. “It is our intention that by giving children something to be proud of, to be a part of, they will think twice before participating in violence towards any living thing,” the Karma Dogs website explains.

The Oath of Kindness is intended to make children stop and think about how important it is to be kind to all animals and resist the pressure to go along with those who might harm animals, whether in the guise of childhood pranks or dog fighting.

Children are sworn in, by a Karma Dog, as they recite the pledge, and receive a certificate which shows they are pledging to be kind to animals, which is pawtographed by the dog.

Reading to dogs at Catonsville library

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After a nearly year-long hiatus, Ace went back on duty as a Karma Dog over the weekend, attending the first HEARTS (Help Encourage All Readers to Succeed) session of the season at the Baltimore County Public Libary in Catonsville.

The program runs for the next eight Saturdays, and starts at 11 .a.m.

Nine books (three of them Curious Georges) were read to Ace, who – from the moment I put on his special Karma Dogs harness and bandana — seemed happy to get back in the program.

He was one of three dogs at the library Saturday morning. The program is aimed at helping children grow more confident about their reading skills. Dogs don’t judge or criticize young readers when they make mistakes, which can often unintentionally cause them to become discouraged readers. When a child is more confident, they can learn more easily and are able to increase their vocabulary and become better readers.

The sessions are aimed at children who can read or are learning to read, and are usually in grades 1-5. To get the most out of the program, Karma Dogs recommends that children attend a session weekly.

Karma Dogs is a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives of others through relationships with therapy dogs. Its various programs are aimed at improving literacy skills among elementary school students and working with children and adults with developmental disabilities to improve communication and socialization skills.

Karma Dogs was also in the news recently for its “Oath of Kindness” program, which was developed in response to the recent violence against animals in Baltimore. Children take an Oath of Kindness with a Karma Dog, where they promise to be kind, tell their friends to be kind and tell an adult if someone isn’t treating an animal properly.

Paws for a Cause holds benefit Sept. 22

The Fourth Annual Paws for a Cause Charity Night & Silent Auction will be held on Tuesday, September 22, from 7 to 10 p.m., at the Red Star Bar & Grill, 906 S. Wolfe Street in Fells Point.

All silent auction proceeds will benefit Arden’s Arc and Karma Dogs. Tickets are $10 per person and reservations are required. For more information on this event, contact Woody Derricks, 410-732-2633 or visit www.paws4cause.org.

Paws for a Cause, a nonprofit organization founded by Woody Derricks, has raised more than $20,000 in the past three years for groups including the Baltimore Humane Society, Recycled Love and the Canton Dog Park.

Arden’s Arc is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, or otherwise abused dogs and cats and placing them in homes.

Karma Dogs is a non-profit organization that just launched a new program called The Oath of Kindness. This program was developed in response to the recent violence against animals in Baltimore. Children take an Oath of Kindness with a Karma Dog, where they promise to be kind, tell their friends to be kind and tell an adult if someone isn’t treating an animal properly.

Karma Dogs introduces “oath of kindness”

karmadogsKarma Dogs, a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates rescued dogs into therapy dogs, has announced the launch of its Oath of Kindness (OK) program — a way for children and teens to pledge to be kind to animals, to tell their friends to be kind as well and to promise to tell an adult if they see animal cruelty.

The program was formed in response to the recent news about Phoenix, the Baltimore pit bull that died after being set on fire. Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested in the case.

“We hope the Oath of Kindness program helps stimulate conversation between children and their parents regarding the treatment of household pets and other animals,” said Kelly Gould, executive director of Karma Dogs. “We work primarily with rescued dogs and it has been our goal at Karma Dogs to teach adults and children that animals have an intrinsic value.”

Participants in the Karma Dogs OK program will be sworn in by Karma Dogs and receive a “pawtographed” certificate by a Karma Dog as well as a ribbon. Karma Dogs will also launch an e-newsletter that includes positive stories about other children being kind to animals. Children are encouraged to submit their own stories via OK@karmadogs.org. Read more »

Your’s, too, could be a Karma Dog

    Karma Dogs, the therapy dog group with which Ace and I volunteer, is looking for a few good dogs — particularly in the Harford County area.
   The new reading program will be held at the library in Aberdeen — meaning Karma Dogs founder Kelly Gould either has to talk her volunteers, most of whom are in Baltimore, into doing some traveling, or line up some new Karma Dogs in Harford County.

   The Karma Dogs reading program — one of several the organization is involved in – is pretty light lifting, at least for us volunteers. Ace and I have taken part in several sessions — and I think we both find it more relaxing than laborious. Basically, we sit and have kids read to us.

   The thinking behind the program is that, through reading to dogs, children who have difficulty can gain new self-confidence, not to mention some practice, and new dog friends.

   To see more about what’s involved in joining Karma Dogs, you can view the video I did for the Baltimore Sun about Ace becoming a therapy dog.

   Most of the Karma Dogs, like Ace, are former shelter or rescue dogs, who, in accordance with the philosophy behind the organization, are giving back to the community.

   If you’re interested, and think your pooch is Karma Dog material, sign up for the next evaluation session, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. at the St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church at 1834 East Joppa Road in Towson. To register, send an email to goodkarma@karmadogs.org.

   For details on the evaluation process and becoming a volunteer, please visit the volunteer section of the Karma Dogs website.

Some runtime also make it easy to understand the essence of all the extra alpha channels that are of a town worried them, them.