Dog Rescue in Action – Students Impact the Future

 Three girls on sofa


When Julie Ogden tells her Woodcliff Middle School science students about her volunteer work at The Last Resort Animal Rescue in West Milford, NJ, they want to help.


Unable to assist the rescue in traditional ways due to their ages, Ogden’s students formed Woodcliff Animal Rescue Engineers (WCare) in 2008.  Through the extracurricular club sponsored by Ogden and technology teacher Fred Matzan, students use technology skills learned in the classroom to promote animal rescue.


The partnership between WCare and The Last Resort exemplifies an increasingly popular education model and a national trend in animal rescue.  Service learning combines community service with social and academic learning.  Service-learning projects allow students to gain firsthand knowledge and hands-on experience while effecting change in their community.  These projects encourage a high level of engagement in the cause and the learning process. 


Students become more concerned citizens and are more likely to stay committed to a cause after the project is completed,” says Ogden.  “Likewise, students become more active learners and are better equipped for future academic and social success.” 

Last Resort pet adoption event in NJ

More than 20 WCare members meet weekly to create digital videos of The Last Resort’s dogs and cats, aiding in their adoptions by drawing attention to their unique qualities.  With these videos, Ogden’s students make a significant contribution to the rescue.


“Unlike many of our adult volunteers, children are tech savvy,” Ogden says.  “They have the skills and the time to create persuasive videos, incorporate music to set the mood and post them on You Tube for Potential adopters to view.” 


WCare is a valuable experience for the students too.  “In addition to practicing their technical skills, students learn how to edit photos and sound to reach people with a specific message,” Ogden explains.  “They have to carefully consider purpose, audience and communication strategies.  The world is changing rapidly.  More people are watching videos than reading.  These skills are going to be invaluable to these students’ futures.” 


WCare students are also developing leadership and social skills through engagement with their community.  Students are fostering dogs with their families and assisting with adoption events.  They are coordinating fundraisers and attending community events to raise awareness for rescue, and several past members have started rescue clubs in their high schools.


“These children are becoming concerned citizens who will be a force to be reckoned with,” says Ogden.


The Haven-Friends for Life in Raeford, NC, takes a different approach to service learning with its animal rescue internship program.  The program offers people 18 or older hands-on learning in administration, photography, building and contracting, graphic design, dog grooming, writing and outdoor recreation.  Internships require a commitment of 20 hours per week with at least one eight hour weekend day. 


The Haven started its internship program in 2009 but always has welcomed people seeking an educational experience with the rescue.  When David Osgood, of Dedham, MA, was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, the animal loving-sergeant began volunteering at The Haven.  Upon realizing the high level of need at the rescue, he decided to formalize nd promote the internship program. 


“The Haven has a real need for quality volunteers who are passionate and professional,” Osgood says.  “Volunteers work hard with no pay.  To have someone who is self-motivated do the job makes all the difference in this kind of work.  Our interns have wonderful drive and make The Haven a much stronger organization.


Osgood also recognizes the program’s benefits for the interns.  Our program gives interns a wealth of opportunities,” he says.  “They gain skills and, if they wish, credit hours while working for a good cause.  Employers today are happy if you have a degree, but what they really want to see on your resume is work experience.  If you can point to proven results – hours worked, projects completed – you will be far ahead.  This advantage is something The Haven can provide.”


Career preparation and an advantage in the work force are valuable benefits of service-learning experience at rescue organizations, especially for people interested in pursuing a shelter or veterinary career.  The Teen Track program at the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA (AAWL) in Phoenix, focuses on teaching sixth through 12th grade students about animal rescue.

AZ Animal Welfare League & SPCA during Teen Tracks training program


Teen Trackers receive in-depth training in animal body language and animal handling skills, assist with daily care of the pets, observe and shelter veterinary clinic staff members, participate in guest presentations and education field trips, and help lead shelter programs.


Students participate in a minimum six weekend shifts during the semester-long course.  As they complete training and accomplish projects and volunteer tasks, students advance through the program’s levels: caregiver, handler and curator.  With each level comes advanced training and greater responsibility. 


Program coordinator Rachael Gardner of Phoenix says most Teen Trackers participate in the program because they want to work in animal-related careers.  “The Teen Track program gives them a head start,” she says.  “Students also learn responsibility and gain public speaking, problem solving, team building and leadership skills.”


In return, Teen Trackers help to change staff members’ perceptions about teenagers’ capabilities.  “I think there are perceptions in our society that teenagers are self-absorbed and don’t care,” Gardner says.  “The Teen Track program shows they can accomplish a goal and help society.”


Service-learning collaborations offer numerous benefits to students while helping to advance animal rescue goals and create long-term animal rescue supporters. 


“I can’t think of anything more empowering than these students discovering they have the ability to change the world,” Ogden says.  “The thousands of animals I have rescued pale in comparison to the impact these students will have on the future.”






To Deal Or Not To Deal With Fear

Stop overthinking will ya

If you’ve  been seeing a man and very carefully not demanded or had a talk about where the relationship is going, not pressured him or asked for any kind of commitment, and then he says, “I need space…” as if you HAD been pressuring him, I know how frustrating that can be.

You want to scream, “I didn’t ask you for a commitment!”  And that’s where the problem is.


No matter what we do and say, our “vibe” is what our man hears.  He may not know how, but he knows what you “really” want … even if you’re hiding it not only from him, but from YOURSELF.


How does that work?  And how can be solve this so that we don’t lose a man for either reason – pushing and pressuring him?


It’s all so easy if you’re not in love with him.  I mean if you feel like he’s a friend, and you don’t have the “tingles” when you’re with him and you don’t care if he calls or if you see him, it’s easy.

In that situation, there isn’t ANY part of you that wants MORE.  You’re probably looking for the man you REALLY want to show up, and are just “making do” with the guy in front of you now.


But what if you DO care for this man? 

What if you DO feel the “tingles” and you DO want MORE with him?

And what if you tell him you DON’T want more, and try to be casual?  What if you never mention your dreams for your own future?  What if you “play it” casual?

Well what happens when we try to take the pressure off of a man by steering clear of our REAL desires for a REAL relationship is that we make him feel UNSAFE.

That’s right. And I know it sounds wrong, because you’d think it would do the opposite.  You’d think he’d feel SAFE.

But no.  Because this is what he “gets” from being with us:

He “senses” on a deep level, because of the “vibe” we put out.  And because we can’t help feeling what we feel on some level we might not even be aware of (we may think we’re so good at “playing” it casual we don’t realize he can pick up on our “seriousness” anyway) that we WANT him, and WANT a relationship with him.  But he knows that, for some reason, we’re holding back on letting him see how we really feel.

And the moment he picks up that you’re holding back, he feels unsafe.  He figures, on some deep level he’s not even aware of, that if you can’t handle YOUR feelings you certainly won’t be able to handle HIS feelings.

Beliefs have power to create and destroy

What Makes Him Feel “Safe

Men are a mass of jumbled emotions just as much as we are, and their biggest dream for love is to be totally ACCEPTED for who they are – ALL parts of them.

That’s what makes them feel safe.

And if you don’t love and accept yourself completely, even the parts of yourself you think are weak, ugly and yucky, he’ll have difficulty feeling safe with you.

Even your boundaries in what you will and will not tolerate from a man make him feel safe.

He feels that if you can take care of yourself emotionally, his emotions – and his secrets – will be safe with you!


Dealing With Fear

Fear is never going to go away.  It stops us from getting what we want, when all fear was ever designed to do is protect us from harm.  So, how can we use fear the way it’s meant to be used – to be a red flag and a warning – and NOT let it run us and get in the way of our true happiness?


The Nasty Voice inside your head that’s telling you to “Be Afraid” is never going to go away.  The horror movie business would disappear if fear weren’t the overwhelming emotion for nearly everyone.


So the trick is to LIVE with it.  In fact, to use the ENERGY of fear to GET what you want!  We need to get past fear and work in tiny baby steps.

Remember:  Life is all about baby steps!

the one meant for you

Fear moves around your body, from one idea to another, from one image to another, from one situation to another.

If you are afraid of moths and then overcome that fear, it doesn’t mean you are through with FEAR for life – there will always be fear.  But also…


Fear Grows

And it GETS SMALLER, too. You can work to make fear smaller, or you can work to make fear larger.  This is where you have a choice.

Right now, it may seem easier and less scary to focus on what’s going on with your man than to focus on yourself and your fears about getting a passionate, thrilling, satisfying life whether or not your man is in it.  (I know it sounds worse, but our minds are fiercely weird sometimes.)

This fear is about the “unknown”… about what MIGHT happen.

Since we have no way to truly know what WILL happen, we’re always reacting with our fear of what MIGHT happen.  That fear stops us in our tracks, and pretty much pushes our man away.

So why don’t you decide to CHOOSE to make fear smaller.  And how do you do that?  With baby-steps ….


Getting Over Fear One Step At A Time

That means you take a baby-step toward what you’re most afraid of.  And when you discover you’ve not only lived through that but feel actually STRONGER because of the step you took – you’ll feel excited to take ANOTHER baby step.

And with every baby step, some old fears get smaller and maybe some new ones get bigger.

That’s why SUCCESS is usually so much scarier than failure!  At least we KNOW what failure is all about but success seems almost incomprehensible.

Guess what?  Even while fears are moving around, getting smaller and growing bigger and then getting smaller again – YOU’VE MOVED!!


Yep – YOU’RE closer to SUCCESS!

So a great baby-step would be to start doing something for yourself.  Not just the normal things – going out with girlfriends or getting a massage – but TRYING something NEW:

  • Perhaps      volunteering to help others through an organization
  • Perhaps      signing up on a dating site
  • Perhaps      starting a new business

And you can become HIS prize (the guy destined for you) to pursue!


Love is in the air Take a Deep Breath