WES students donate dog leashes to the Animal Welfare Society

At Wells Elementary School in December, nineteen students of fourth-grade teacher Pam Lear presented Amanda Zimmerman of the Animal Welfare Society in Kennebunk with twenty student-made dog leashes and a box of assorted new pet items.  The donation was the culmination of a classroom project.   Zimmerman is the Youth Programs Coordinator at AWS.

In the fall students read a classic novel titled, “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo.   Inspired by the story about a stray dog and finding a new home, Lear and her teaching intern, Jamie Haven, a UMO student, developed an idea to work with their students to make and customize dog leashes as a way to help in the care of local shelter dogs.  Both realized that a lot of material would have to be purchased and so Haven got to work creating a GoFundMe page that raised the needed funds.

The material purchased consisted of polyester webbing straps, grosgrain ribbons of various designs and colors, leash handles, and metal clasps to hook leashes onto dog collars.   According to Haven, each leash took about an hour to create in class and all were finished in a month.  To complete, students needed to learn to sew and operate a sewing machine to attach the ribbon material to the straps.  

“They were fun to make and the kids loved it…,”   said Haven who had previously incorporated the DiCamillo book into a unit of study in college.   

Fourth-graders Isabelle Cote and Ben Hatfield indicated that they enjoyed making the leashes.  “I was really happy that we got to make leashes for other dogs,” said Isabelle who was pleased to know that someone adopting a dog at the shelter would be able to have a colorful leash to bring their new pet home.  

Pam Lear commented that she plans to make this project a tradition adding, “…paying it forward to animals who deserve a nice leash!"

The Animal Welfare Society is located at 46 Holland Road in Kennebunk, Maine.  For more information call 207-985-3244 or visit their website: www.animalwelfaresociety.org.  

Standing in front of an AWS van are fourth-grade students displaying multi-designed and colored leashes. Teacher Pam Lear is at the left of the van and Intern Jamie Haven is to the right near the van’s hood. 

At right is Amanda Zimmerman, the Youth Programs Coordinator for the Animal Welfare Society.  At left is class intern Jamie Haven.  In the center is Teddy wearing a new leash that matches the color of his fur.