Bullying is something no one wants or needs in their life, whether you are an animal or a human.
Turtle the Painting Pit Bull of Respect A Bull, Inc., was the inspiration behind the ingenious anti-bullying campaign launched by Arlington Animal Services Manager Chris Huff and president and founder of Respect A Bull, Inc., Kristie Miller.
The clever approach used to engage youth in this program is to tell the story from a Pit Bull’s perspective…not just any Pit Bull, but from Turtle’s. Turtle was rescued by Miller, and lovingly nurtured to good health, to become a renowned pet therapy dog, talented canine artist, and recovered victim of severe bullying.
The kick-off for the new Anti-Bullying Program from a Pit Bull’s perspective was held at Arlington Animal Services in September with five local Girl Scout troops’ participating.
Huff was assisted by Animal Services Volunteer Sally Amendola, who helped lead this highly anticipated class, with her over 32 years of experience in professional education. Amendola was delighted when Huff solicited her help, expressing “the class is very near and dear to my heart because as a child, I was a victim of bullying”.
The Girl Scouts were very receptive to the class, sharing profound thoughts about bullying. When asked how bullying makes us feel, one scout responded by saying, “It makes you feel like home is the only safe place.”
After a serious class on bullying, and highlights of Turtle’s story regarding her cruel treatment. Turtle concluded the class by showing how she has overcome her struggles and is doing great by painting a purple and yellow colorful picture, while the girls’ watched in astonishment and delight.
Respect A Bull, Inc. distributed bracelet’s that read, “Remember Turtle” in hopes that the girls’ will remember Turtle’s story if they ever feel bullied, or ever have thoughts about bullying someone else.
In a final quote from Amendola: “My hope is that we give the children we talk to a feeling that they are not alone, that others, including Turtle, have felt the pain of injustice, and that we give them techniques for dealing with bullies and bullying.”
Interested in learning more about this program? For more information, contact Arlington Animal Services at 817-459-5898. (City release)