The Animals for Life Foundation has approved more than $30,000 in grants in fiscal year 2011 projects that help improve the human-animal bond, including a therapy dog program for children with autism and a farm animal handling program for first responders.
“These programs help to further understanding of the mutual benefits between animals and humans in many ways, such as companionship, therapy, nourishment and recreation,” said David White, Executive Director of the Animals for Life Foundation. “We are pleased to help these groups work to further their missions at the same time.”
Projects included in this year’s funding include:
Vinny The Therapy Dog, Northside Elementary School, Minerva, Ohio
Vinny, a classroom therapy dog at Northside Elementary School in Minerva, Ohio, has had a great impact on many students with disabilities, including developmental disabilities, cognitive delays and learning disabilities. Vinny’s presence in the classroom helps to alleviate tension due to difficult circumstances. Students of Ms. Lesli Waller’s class enjoy sharing their projects, drawings and writings with Vinny. This therapy dog is a staple in the school and is admired by all of the students and staff. However, Vinny also has special needs of his own; due to double ear canal surgery and severe allergies, Vinny’s veterinarian bills have become costly. This grant will help Vinny be able to continue to influence and help students with special needs.
Animal Behavior, Welfare and Husbandry Career Developmental Event, Ohio FFA Foundation, Columbus, Ohio
This program organizes educational seminars and workshops concerning careers in the agricultural industry. Animal behavior and animal welfare are important topics not only for agriculture students, but also for a knowledgeable public. The focus of this portion of the event is to motivate individuals to learn the basic principles of animals’ evolutionary biology and how to successfully manage livestock and corresponding facilities. This event ties all the aspects of agriculture careers into one by stressing the importance of the basic knowledge of animals as the foundation to any agricultural operation.
Training Program for Therapy Dogs for Children with Autism, Assistance Dogs of America, Swanton, Ohio
The Assistance Dogs of America program provides and assigns therapy dogs to families with autistic children. The benefits of therapy dogs interacting with autistic children include modifying behavior, encouraging responsibility, redirecting anger and improving social interactions. As the rates of children born with autism increase every year, so does the waiting list of Assistance Dogs of America. While there is no cost for the recipients of therapy dogs, the extensive training each dog receives totals $18,000. The three-year training each dog receives includes obedience, socialization, and daily training. The waiting list of Assistance Dogs of America is now comprised of 37 individuals who will wait 18-24 months for their therapy dog. With the help of the Animals for Life Foundation, the ADAI will be able to impact the lives of more children with autism by providing them with their very own canine companion.
Season’s Harvest, Medina County Farm Bureau
This dining experience, which benefits the local animal shelter, features a gourmet meal with entirely locally grown items. The Medina County Farm Bureau will treat dinner guests to food and education about farmland, crop production and animal agriculture with guest speakers from Medina County Animal Shelter and Medina County SPCA. All proceeds from the Season’s Harvest, including profits from a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle, will benefit the local animal shelter.
Animal Ag 202: Farm Animal Handling for First Responders, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Columbus, Ohio
There is currently inadequate emergency response to accidents involving farm animals, such as barn fires, natural disasters, animal hoarding, and truck and trailer accidents. Often times, the first responders do not have any experience caring for farm animals. The purpose of the course “Animal Ag 202: Farm Animal Handling for First Responders” is to provide emergency crews with training to provide adequate care for farm animals during a time of need. First responders, such as fire fighters, law enforcement, humane officers, animal control officers, Ohio Regional Animal Response Teams, Ohio Veterinary Emergency Responders and county Emergency Management Agency directors, would receive training in areas such as farm animal flight zones, farm animal behavioral cues and body language, and personal safety issues. These training courses will create a relationship between emergency crews and farm animals to help provide adequate care of farm animals during emergencies.
Farm Animal Environmental Video, Ohio Livestock Coalition, Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio Livestock Coalition wishes to create a video promoting farmers’ environmental responsibility. The environmental video will feature real Ohio livestock farmers and current preventions in place to preserve natural resources. The goal of the video is to further increase consumer confidence in Ohio’s farms and to promote human-animal bonds in order to help Ohioans appreciate farm animals and their contribution to our everyday lives.