Mutt-i-gree: the magic of paws
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Have you ever been scared and alone?
Drake, the labrador retriever was scared and alone after he became homeless because of a divorce in a family.
Bixby junior Ragan Fletcher’s family rescued him and gave him a loving family. Fletcher said, “Drake made an immeasurable difference in my life and having him around has taught me so many life skills.”
Fletcher quickly learned that there were over 5 million pets abandoned to shelters every year due to relocation, divorce or abandonment. “Learning these statistics compelled me to search for a way to make a difference in the lives of these shelter pets. My explorations led me to discover Mutt-i-grees.”
Mutt-i-grees is a innovative curriculum that builds on children’s love for animals and highlights the unique characteristics and desirability of shelter pets. The curriculum teaches social and emotional skills and is unique in its bridging of humane education, social and emotional learning. The goal of the program is to enable children to grow up to be calm, confident and caring.
Fletcher, moved by the mission of Mutt-i-grees, wanted to spread the message. “I have watched my generation become calloused towards others over the years. I know a change needs to be made and with the partnership of wonderful humane programs, I have taken up the challenge to be a part of a solution.”
Since 2014, Fletcher has been a National Mutt-i-gree Student Ambassador. The program identifies exceptional students who advocate for and help raise awareness through animal welfare, humane education and service learning projects of their choice.
One of Fletcher’s goals was to work closely with students at Bixby, teach Mutt-i-grees lessons and implement community service projects. She began mentoring a group of students at Bixby Central Intermediate School by starting and facilitating a M.U.T.T.S. (Motivated Understanding Thoughtful Teenage Students) Club, where Drake, the rescue labrador, occasionally joins the fun.
Fletcher said, “Their [club members] personalities changed drastically as we met up each week. The kids began to be more outgoing and I saw their ability to demonstrate self-control. The shy children began to speak up, plus they were able to express opinions on different subjects. The most exciting part…was the fact that the kids did not want this to end at all. Being a part of M.U.T.T.S. Club made them feel like they were doing something special. Overall, the impact on the students was an eye opener to how wonderful Mutt-i-grees really is.”
Another celebrity rescue canine that’s a regular at M.U.T.T.S. Club meetings is fashion icon french bulldog, Bella Rose. Bella Rose has more on her mind than the the runway, her next photo shoot or hanging out in the arms of Carrie Underwood. She and her human, Pamela Reed, are on a mission to educate children and adults about responsible pet ownership. The duo travel all over the state serving as a therapy dog.
Beside regular meetings, the group collects items like rawhides, Kongs, beds and food for the Tulsa Humane Society. Last year they raised over $2500 worth of supplies. This year’s campaign will run through October 23.
Fletcher, who was recently crowned Miss Northwest Oklahoma City’s Outstanding Teen 2016, is using her new title to speak to others about the Muff-i-gree curriculum. “I feel immensely blessed in being involved in such an inspiring program and hope to inspire many other in getting involved to be the change they wish to see,” she said.
Fletcher has been invited to the Get Your Rescue On Gala hosted by North Shore Animal League in New York in November where her work will be honored.
The M.U.T.T.S. Club meets on Tuesday’s from 3:45-4:45. and are taking donations of rawhides, towels (new or used), Kongs, dog and cat beds, fleece blankets, puppy pads, toys, kitty litter, dog & cat food and collars (new or used).
For more information, please contact Shanna Fletcher at [email protected]