Featured Book: Before You Were Mine
This wonderful book by Maribeth Boelts tells the story of a little boy's wonderings about what kind of a life his dog had before they took him home from the shelter. He wonders if his dog had a warm and loving home, or if perhaps he was kept outside on a chain. He wonders if his family had to leave him behind, or if the dog got lost outdoors. He wonders what the dog's life was like in the shelter - if he had food and water, and if he lived in a cage there, all alone. This is a great book choice to help children learn compassion for a shelter dog's life, and plants the seed of an idea for families to consider going to shelter to rescue a dog before going to a pet store (many of which get their dogs from puppy mills).
Part of the reason I launched this program was to help prevent the millions of dogs who are relinquished to shelters and then unnecessarily euthanized each year. Too often, because children simply do not know that their actions may be scaring or provoking a dog, they get bitten. Dr. Mary Renck Jalongo (2008) estimates that approximately 400,000 dog bites to children are reported each year, and that these bites are more likely to be disfiguring because children are small. Unfortunately, when a dog bites, it is often relinquished to a shelter. This doesn't have to happen - age appropriate education that teaches children how to behave around dogs can help prevent dog bites in the first place.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that between 6 and 8 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year, and of these healthy, adoptable animals, approximately 2.7 million are euthanized each and every year.
If you are looking for a gift for a young child, a new mom, or if you have any little ones in your lives, pick up a copy of Before You Were Mine to help them learn more about kindness and compassion towards animals. To read more great books by Maribeth Boelts, check out her website by clicking here!