Some of the children in the Dominican Republic are taught at a very young age to not touch dogs or approach dogs as they might be diseased. Because of this, many grow up with a fear of animals which results in adults who poison dogs and cats, throw rocks at dogs, hit dogs with machetes, and even worse. Not all Dominicans feel this way about animals, but if Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic is going to make a difference in the lives of the animals of the island, part of our mission needs to be educating the youth, as well as adults, about the benefits of having a pet.
In our Community Outreach Program where we travel into poorer areas and provide parasite medicines, we spend a lot of time with the animal owners working to teach them about the proper care of their animals. We have seen a significant change in the attitudes of these pet owners, especially when our flea and tick treatments create a healthier animal that they are no longer afraid to pet.
As part of our mission, volunteers from Dogs and Cats of the Dominican Republic spend time at schools educating the children on the proper care of their own pet and that pets can be a wonderful thing to have in their lives. Getting the children on board might be as simple as bringing a dog that does tricks or having one of our volunteers arrive in a dog costume. We are starting to see attitudes about animals changing in those areas we are working in and will continue to work to create a new generation of lovers of Coconut Hounds and Coconut Cats.