Patriot Learning Center students volunteer once a month during the school year at the National Dog Mill Rescue in Peyton, Colorado. Students complete tasks like folding towels and sorting donations, and they also socialize with the dogs.
Eighth-grader Zane Scott has volunteered at the NDMR before, and enjoys the experience. “You can teach these dogs that humans aren’t all bad,” he said as he sat with three dogs in a walk-in kennel.
Becky Pelton, volunteer docent, explained that puppies sold at commercial pet stores often come from dog mills, where the conditions are very poor for the animals. The dogs at NMDR often times have behavioral issues and need medical attention.“It’s important to reach the youth, so they know where [these dogs] come from,” said Pelton. She said that volunteering at the NDMR helps ensure students adopt pets responsibly.
Eighth-grader Hezzy Barela explained that volunteering gave him a new outlook on pet stores. “I found out where [the dogs] came from,” he said. “It kind of changed my perspective.”
Near the end of the volunteer shift, students participate in “puppy parties”, where dogs are brought outside to a fenced area for students to socialize and play with.