Rural Missouri - November 2011 - (Page 36)

N E I G H B O R S dog and cat food to help needy area pet owners. The PETCO store in St. Joseph heard about what the big-hearted class had accomplished, so the store stacked hort and stocky, Junior meanall the collected pet food in a display ders around the room’s perim— and patrons donated 1,600 more eter as the young students quipounds to the pile. etly work at their desks. Then, In 2009, her class got Abigail, Madhe picks up a bone, plops down and eline’s half sister. “She arrived when the happily gnaws until they’re finished economy was hitting bottom and many with their assignments. families were having to pull their kids One-year-old Junior is a bulldog and out of school due to pay cuts or job the beloved furry “student” in Deborah loss,” recalls Deborah. “She helped give Pack’s pre-kindergarten class at Outthem stability and a sense of peace.” reach Christian Elementary School in Then came May 2011 — and the torAvondale. He’s also a student with a nado that nearly wiped the southwest disability — Junior is deaf. Missouri town of Joplin off the map. “When I began looking for a bull“We wanted to turn the bad news into dog pup, I specifically asked for one something positive,” says Deborah. with a challenge of some sort, so the The teacher called one of the only kids could learn to help a pet with a veterinary clinics left standing in Joplin disability,” says Deborah, who’s been and asked if there was anything they teaching at the school for 15 years. could do to help. The facility, which In preparation for Junior’s arrival in normally only held 20 animals, had the classroom last year, Deborah began treated nearly 400 animals the first two teaching the children sign language, weeks following the tornado and more such as the signs for “please stand,” supplies were needed. “please sit” and “please come.” She So the “little class that could” stood wanted them to know that if they in front of a local grocery store, handmet someone who couldn’t hear, they ing out a list of needed items. Three could still communicate. By adding hours later, the children ended up with phrases such as “down” and “no,” she a truck and trailer loaded with items knew her class would be ready to work plus cash donations to help the clinic. with Junior when he arrived. “A few days after Mrs. Pack’s call, Junior was so much a part of the we received a check, supplies, a photo learning process last year that Deborah of the class with Junior and a letter decided to make him the permanent saying they wanted to help,” says Dr. mascot for her classroom. While he’s Jack Bozarth, veterinarian for Joplin’s the first to return to class, he’s not Banfield Pet Hospital. “We could hardly the first to become part of Deborah’s unusual teaching methods. Including Pre-kindergarten teacher Deborah Pack and her deaf bulldog, Junior, help teach believe it.” Since May, the class has collected animals in the classroom began with her students about kindness, love, acceptance, understanding and compassion. more than $900 for the clinic, along a Valentine’s Day present she received with hundreds of pounds of pet food from her husband, Ronnie, in 2003. and supplies. The money they send “Instead of jewelry, I asked for a is used for the care of tornado victim goat,” says the Platte-Clay Electric pets. One such pet is Frog, a beagle-mix Cooperative member who lives on a pup found in the rubble. The pup had small farm not far from Avondale. to have a leg amputated, but she has So one cold February day, Deborah recovered and now has a good home. and her husband found themselves on The veterinarian is amazed that a nearby farm, staring at a field of pygthese kids, who live nearly 200 miles my goats. Suddenly, a baby goat leaped away, would care enough to help peothrough the air and landed at her feet. ple they’ve never met. The farmer soon found that a partially eaten “They have no connection to Joplin, but round hay bale had collapsed on several goats, gave and continue to give,” says Dr. Bozarth, one of them being this baby’s mother. Deborah who hopes to bring Frog to knew then she was taking the orphan home. meet the class soon. After stopping to get milk, bottles and a Junior raises funds, bottle warmer, the Packs headed home with • Avondale too, with his “Kiss a the day-old baby they named Preston. DeboBulldog” booth the rah soon realized she would either have to class sets up at take maternity leave or take this goat — which local events. The needed fed every 2 hours — to school with her. kids also share The principal spotted a good learning experiinformation with ence, too. Explaining to the students that Prespet owners on ton had lost his mother, Deborah and the class how to prepare pets for emergencies. of 2004 raised the goat together. He was the “People might think, ‘How are the kids first animal to ever walk across the stage with a learning anything by having an animal in mortarboard and bow tie. the classroom,’” says Deborah, “But you’d be In 2008, Deborah brought Madeline, their amazed. They learn compassion, kindness, love, first bulldog puppy, to the classroom. During understanding and acceptance. And those are Madeline’s tenure, Deborah learned through a attributes they can take with them and pay fornearby pet pantry that people were giving their Deborah and several of her students prepare to share their pet ward all their lives,” says Deborah. own food to their pets instead of eating food disaster kit information with people at the Power of Pink Breast themselves. With the help of Avondale, popula- Cancer Foundation event held Oct. 1 in Platte City. The students You may e-mail Deborah at tion 529, the class collected 1,041 pounds of are, from left, Hailey Jordan, Hannah Landers and Fox Cost. S by Heather Berry Paw it Forward An Avondale teacher uses her furry friends to teach young students compassion 36 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2011

Rural Missouri - November 2011
Table of Contents
In search of Missouri mills
Co-ops take action
Best of rural Missouri
Out of the Way Eats
Second chance ranch
Grant takes command
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
The hillbilly approach to the Woodstock nation
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - November 2011