Mow Wow Animals is a K–5 curriculum created to build a foundation for a lifelong sense of ethics and compassion. The lessons engage students’ empathy and imagination while merging humane education with literature, arts, science, and social science. Additional interactive enrichment activities connect parents, teachers, and students to local animal shelters. Mow Wow Animals’ multicultural, bilingual curriculum is designed to assist teachers in fulfilling California’s humane education requirement and aligns with language arts and science benchmarks.
“Mow Wow humane lessons encouraged great discussions amongst my students on the care and needs of animals in their homes and neighborhoods. The delightful film, It’s A Dog’s Day, helped them identify with the universal emotions of love, respect and belonging.”Go To Mow Wow Animals
Issues in Humane Education—Classroom and Small-group Education
The educational program of the Palo Alto Humane Society is based on a simple philosophy that that people—especially children—have a natural affinity for animals and a curiosity that needs to be developed and supported in order to evolve into humane behavior. EweTube provides a more in-depth presentation of our philosophy. Click here to visit EweTube.
The PAHS education program reflects this philosophy. We provide topics for discussion and opportunities to learn about animals and their needs to schools throughout the Bay Area.
“Animals Everywhere” is a program of classroom presentations for children and adolescents, from kindergarten through high school, that focus on the animals in our community, responsible pet care, and living with pets and wildlife. Our presentations are tailored to the specific needs of school, afterschool, and summer/intersession programs and can include use of videos and activities in our Web-based humane education tool, Mow Wow Animals. To download a brochure (PDF file) that describes the aims and content of Mow Wow, click here. To visit the Mow Wow Animals site, click here.
PAHS partners with local school district art departments to connect young students with shelter animals through the visual arts. Under the guidance of school art teachers, students learn how to recognize the essence of another being, and their soulful paintings help promote the adoption of dogs and cats in local shelters. Through Adoptables Art, students become humane advocates, empathizing with the animals they draw and paint.
PAHS’ Education Ambassadors bring live animals and Critter Club lessons directly to the classroom. Children and teachers have the opportunity to interact with the animals and learn about animal care, neighborhood animals, and wild animals. Each child receives recognition of his or her participation with a Critter Club certificate. Additionally, take-home lessons encourage family discussion on kindness to animals and on building healthy, happy neighborhoods.
PAHS provides the books, local animal shelters provide the cats, and local schools help children connect with this wonderful reading program that gives children the opportunity to read to cats (and dogs) in the shelter. The program is good for shy, underdeveloped readers and other special needs students who would benefit from helping to socialize shelter animals. And the cats (and dogs) have companionship for a brief interlude and the possibility of adoption.
Produced by the Palo Alto Humane Society, this award-winning, ten-minute film tells the story of a compassionate community that rides to the rescue of a sad and lonely dog. The film represents a unique collaboration of art forms and artists, combining puppet artistry, circus art, mime, and dogs trained in theater performance. It’s A Dog’s Day received a 2015 Telly Award for “creativity, skill, and dedication to the mission of humane education.” The film is accessible for the visually and hearing impaired.
Written by author James Church for the Palo Alto Humane Society, this story emphasizes the connections among people, animals, and the world of trees. Illustrations are by local artist Erin Scott.
PAWS 2 PAHS Community Visits
Volunteers trained in humane issues visit classrooms with their well-behaved and child friendly companion dogs or trained therapy or service animals to connect with young people. Topics of discussion include the responsibility of people to animals, animal care, and ways in which animals work in and help the community. Teams are available also to visit care facilities and community organizations.
Here are our PAWS 2 PAHS canine and feline volunteers
Meet The PAHS Humane Education Team
Our Humane Educator and Translator, Leonor Delgado, is an experienced editor and writer of bilingual educational materials at all grade levels as well as a long-term cat rescuer, volunteering in TNR efforts and as a feral colony manager. She offers presentations and discussion sessions in English and Spanish in topics in humane education in school and afterschool settings for students of all ages. She is also responsible for the development of Mow Wow Animals, PAHS’ online teacher tool for grades K–5, and for training educators in the use of the tool. contact
Susan Stienstra-Vance, who coordinates PAHS’ social media and media campaigns, is a licensed humane educator with House Rabbit Society, and in that capacity, has taught children and adults about rabbits and how to care for them. She is also an excellent resource about horses and wildlife.
Patty Hurley, PAHS volunteer, is a special education advocate and consultant who works with families with children in preschool through high school. She provides advice about educational materials and helps coordinate Kiddies 2 Kitties sessions and assists in Critter Club and other kinds of presentations.
Our Puppet Team
Joining Leonor, Susan, and Patty are a cast of puppet characters who, on demand, participate in PAHS special events.
Click on the images below to meet them.
Twelve-year old Felicity plays like she used to when she was a feisty kitten! Life was not always this pleasant, though. Soon after kittenhood, her human parents lost their jobs and were forced to move. Sadly, instead of taking Felicity with them, they abandoned her in the yard to fend for herself. Felicity had always been an indoor kitty, so finding herself alone and outside was very scary. She didn’t have access to food or fresh water and had never learned the skills needed for surviving outside. Other outside animals such as feral cats, dogs, raccoons, and possums were very frightening. She managed as well she could for several years until one day she was hit by a car and left on the side of the road. A retired police officer and longtime cat lover, found her and took her to his local veterinarian who performed surgery to fix her broken hip and made sure she had plenty of TLC.
Once Felicity had healed, the officer and his wife decided to adopt her, and she now lives with cat buddies Seymore and Clive and a slobbery bulldog named Rutherford. Anxious to put her rediscovered energy and outdoor experience to good use, Felicity was the first animal to sign up with PAHS as part of their humane education outreach team. She is thrilled with her daytime job, especially meeting children and their parents in the community and teaching them about community cats. Way to go, Felicity!
This handsome guy was not always very handsome. Rescued from a foie gras production facility that was closed, Harold used to be in pretty bad shape. He suffered from hepatic lipidosis, also known as “fatty liver disease.” He also could barely walk because of the disease. But thanks to complaints from the community about the extreme cruelty to the animals at the production plant and statewide legislation banning foie gras, the facility was forced to close.
Harold was one of the lucky survivors. He was transported to a sanctuary where he healed and began to live a healthy life of a goose roaming freely outside, playing with friends, and receiving kind and humane treatment. In the months that followed, his health improved, slowly but surely. Around that time the PAHS team arrived at the sanctuary in search of a new member for its humane education outreach effort. When Harold learned about PAHS and its humane education program, he made sure that that his newly fluffy feathers were noticed! He knew that his past experiences would provide the depth needed to be an educational representative. He quickly became a valued member of the team.
Chuck is a four-year old rooster now living happily with his adoptive family on their small farm, but life wasn’t always as happy. His mother hatched her first eggs, a clutch of ten (which included Chuck, of course), when she was still very young. She had beautiful white and golden-red hued feathers—everyone says that Chuck received his handsome coloration from her! Roosters can usually be recognized as different from hens by their striking plumage and by the development of a comb and spurs on their legs. Chuck is very proud of his plumage, especially when he struts about every day to impress the hens at the farm! Chuck’s mother wasn’t as lucky. She wasn’t able to go outside and feel the sunshine, peck for food in the grass, or breathe clean air. She was an egg-laying hen on a factory farm and was treated very badly. .
Chuck was very fortunate. The egg in which he was an embryo was allowed to hatch, unlike most eggs, which aren’t fertilized and are sold for food. As a young chick, Chuck was sold to a nearby farmer who gave him all that he needed to survive, but not enough to allow him to be happy and truly healthy. He didn’t have much room to roam and wasn’t housed in the cleanest of conditions. One day, when the latch on his cage was left partly unlocked, he managed to break free. He wriggled through a hole in a nearby fence and took off! He survived on his own for nearly two weeks before he was found—lonely, cold, tired, and hungry. He was taken to the nearest shelter, and over time, with good food, medication, and love, he became a strong and healthy rooster. A family searching for the right rooster to rule the roost on their farm adopted him two months later. Chuck finally found his lifelong home! He loves to educate people about the better treatment of chickens on factory farms and really enjoys his role in the Humane Education Outreach Team.
Bertha is a fun-loving rabbit who enjoys nothing more than to stop and smell the flowers. Bertha was born early in the summer along with her three other brothers and sisters. She was the second-to-last born of her siblings, a very tiny rabbit with long floppy ears. The rabbits’ human parents, the Smiths, took Bertha’s mom and dad home as a holiday gift to their children, but no one had stressed the importance of spaying and neutering to them. Just when that idea crossed their minds, a litter of bunnies was born. With amazing luck, Bertha’s human parents were able to find adoptive homes for almost all the baby rabbits (not an easy task nowadays, with fewer people adopting rabbits and too many little ones being born), and made sure all of them were spayed and neutered. However, the Smiths could not find a home for Bertha, so she had to stay.
One sunny afternoon, the Smiths’ youngest child was playing with Bertha and accidently dropped her. The Smiths rushed Bertha to the emergency veterinary clinic, which they couldn’t afford. The emergency vet recommended that homes with small children not have rabbits as pets because the children aren’t old enough to properly handle and care for them. Thankfully, the vet generously donated the treatment necessary to make Bertha well and found new adoptive homes for Bertha and her parents. Bertha and her mom and dad are very grateful that they did not go to the shelter and that they live with loving families with older children. They now spend their days rolling in the grass and nibbling on hay. Bertha very much enjoys accompanying the Humane Education Team to talk about how people can help animals, especially rabbits.
Henry was a rambunctious puppy. He loved to chase balls and wrestle with anyone who was a willing participant. Henry lived with a couple who had purchased him at a local pet store when he was just a little puppy. Before they knew it, Henry had grown from a cute little puppy to a really big dog with lots of energy. Unfortunately, the couple quickly became frustrated with the amount of time and energy Henry required. They were also unprepared for the responsibility and the training and commitment necessary to care for big, furry, active Henry. After having a few potty accidents and chewing on the leg of the dining room table, Henry was sent to the backyard to be by himself. Instead of living in the house with his family, Henry was chained to a stake in the ground to keep him from digging holes in the yard. Henry’s people yelled at him whenever he tried to pull himself away from the stake. He never went on walks with his people and never visited the park. No one ever played with him. Some nights he would get some dry kibble tossed into his bowl and perhaps a bit of water, but never enough to fill his hungry tummy. All day and all night Henry was alone. He was left out in the yard to keep warm in the winter—he had no shelter—and cool in the hot summer sun.
Dogs are pack animals, which means they need a family and don’t do well when there is no one around, human or dog, to share their lives. Henry used to cry because he felt so very sad and lonely. A group of children passing by Henry’s house heard his cries and went to the back of the house, peered through the fence, and discovered Henry. The children called the local animal shelter. Animal control officers removed Henry from the backyard and took him to the shelter. One of the children who helped rescue Henry visited him every day, taking him for walks, playing with him, feeding him, cleaning up after him, and giving him lots of pets and hugs. Once the animal shelter said that Henry was ready for adoption, this girl and her family took him home with them. Henry now happily lives with his new family, where he runs in a large yard and plays ball regularly, eats and sleeps in the house, and receives more love than he had ever known. He’s very happy to be part of the PAHS Humane Education Outreach Team, which he considers his second family.
Beautiful Carlotta the cow started her life on a dairy farm. She was kept in horrible conditions along with all of the other dairy cows. The farm was a “factory farm” where animals are treated as objects rather than living beings with feelings and special needs. Because Carlotta was a dairy cow, she was made to give birth to a calf every year. Calves born to dairy cows are separated from their mothers immediately after birth. Female calves are raised to replace older dairy cows in the milking herd. Male calves will never produce milk, so they are raised for slaughter, for beef and veal. For Carlotta, watching all the male calves killed was very traumatic to experience every year.
Then, one day, Carlotta’s life changed dramatically for the better. The local farm animal sanctuary visited the dairy farm to investigate the dairy farm. A nice man making a delivery saw the conditions in which the cows were living and realized that no one seemed to care about their welfare. He knew that what the owners of the farm were doing was wrong. He understood that cows are gentle by nature and form strong bonds with each other that are vital to their wellbeing. He contacted the local farm animal sanctuary to report the bad conditions. When representatives from the farm animal sanctuary inspected the barn, they were very upset to find Carlotta and her friends tethered inside their small stalls, standing in nearly two feet of manure. All the cows had badly overgrown hooves, making it very uncomfortable and painful for them to stand. Thanks to the actions of this compassionate man, the cows and their calves were rescued from the dairy farm. They received medical attention and were moved to a safe and kind place to live. And the local authorities closed down the dairy farm. Carlotta is now happily enjoying her days, roaming the lush rolling hills of the sanctuary with her closest friends, Elsa and Howie. When she’s at the sanctuary, she’s with the Humane Education Outreach Team at their special events, reporting about humane treatment of farm animals.
Fat, stupid, ugly? Not this pig! Anyone who knows Petunia, the Palo Alto Humane Society’s “Humane Education Pig,” knows that pigs are interesting, strong, and well built, not to mention very appreciative of their food—and they eat exactly what they need to eat. They are as intelligent as dogs. And their babies, the piglets, are so cute! Petunia loves to teach people about pigs. She teaches that pigs are misunderstood and that when they are misunderstood, they are not treated correctly. Petunia is very lucky because she lives on a farm where animals are treated humanely, and she can live her life as a pigs is meant to.
Pigs became domesticated only 8,000 years ago, so they are still similar in many ways to their wild cousins. Like wild pigs, barnyard pigs prefer living in groups of friends and relatives. They roam and root incessantly in the ground in search of food. Petunia teaches that pigs suffer when kept alone in tiny pens on industrial farms, where they are not allowed to stand or turn around, or root in the soil as they so enjoy—in other words, when they cannot live according to their nature and their special needs. Petunia talks about the movie Babe and the scene in which the tiny piglets are taken too soon from their mother and hauled away in a truck. She cries a little at this but cheers up when, as the movie progresses, Farmer Hoggett begins to understand and respect the nature of his pink pig friend. A new law in California has improved the conditions of pigs on industrial farms. This law was passed because people cared and advocated for humane treatment of farm animals. That’s the good news Petunia teaches. She invites you to become a person who cares and helps create a kinder world for animals on the farm.
Hurricane loves to run with the wind, tossing his head as a nod to his wild past. Horses, or—if you like the Latin name Equus (think of equine), were wild for millions of years and were domesticated barely 7,000 years ago. Hurricane is a modern horse, so when he is not out feeling his oats, he is in the barn eating them. Hurricane is a very lucky horse. He is well cared for. He is loved, fed, given a comfortable and safe place in a barn, and has a wonderful pasture for exercise. He doesn’t have to wear heavy shoes on his wild and free legs.
Unlike his grandfather Black Beauty, from long ago, Hurricane has never suffered from abuse, hard labor, or the whip. And, unlike many horses today, he will never face a long and frightening journey to a faraway place to end up on someone’s dinner plate. Hurricane joined the PAHS Humane Education Outreach Team when he was just a colt. As a PAHS “Humane Education Horse,” he helps people learn about the magnificence of his species, about the care a horse needs, and about the friendship a horse will offer in return. No other animal except the dog has helped people more. In fact, his smaller relative, the pony, was named for the ancient goddess Epona—so valued was this beautiful and spirited animal. Hurricane gives you an impatient whinny and stomp of his hoof. He is waiting for you to invite him to your special event for a fun and informational puppet presentation on kindness to animals.