Students receive instructions on pet care

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 26, 2002

Nearly every Southland Elementary School second grader owns a pet.

They listened attentively as Mower County Humane Society volunteer, Nini Johnson, talk about animal care.

Along with her 9-year-old Golden Retriever, Rossi, Johnson spent an hour Thursday morning, in the school Library, explaining why the humane society is important and how the students could keep their pets from turning up at "Friends in Need," the local shelter in Austin.

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Giving the animals a good home was top on Johnson's list. She told the students that this could be done by keeping their pet's food and water fresh, training them well and giving them lots of love.

Rossi is a perfect example.

Johnson nursed Rossi back to health when she adopted him nearly eight years ago. Rossi turned up at the shelter "skinny and scared," she said.

"I just knew he was meant for me."

Johnson also stressed the importance of licensing pets and also spaying and neutering animals to keep animal population down.

Linda Johnson, media specialist at the school, arranged for Nini to visit the classes -- a program she began about 12 years ago.

Linda is also concerned about the overpopulation of pets and feels that Nini's visit is a good way to inform the young students about the problem.

"Once in a while (students) will express concern about a friend or neighbor's pet," said Linda, who said that if students learn how to care for pets and recognize when things are wrong, problems can be avoided.

Second-grader Ashley Rainville agreed.

"We should help out by taking care of our animals."

The Mower County Humane Society "Friends in Need" animal shelter is located in Austin at 1010 10th Drive SE and can be reached at 437-9262.

Call Lisa M. Sanders at 434-2237 or e-mail her at