Stilwell, the star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or The Dog, was invited to speak by the Cherokee County Homeless Pets Club.
“I’m really excited,” said 11-year-old Anna Adas. “I watch her show all the time.”
“Kids have an understanding being kind towards animals also translates to being kind toward their peers,” Stilwell told CBS Atlanta News. “And every child needs that self-esteem.”
Founded by veterinarian Dr. Michael Good, Homeless Pets now has approximately 60 clubs in the metro Atlanta area. Its mission is to teach students to be compassionate to animals.
Each club adopts a homeless dog or cat then works to find the animal a good home.
Stilwell told the students to give themselves a round of applause for their efforts to help homeless pets find homes.
Earlier Wednesday, she toured the Cherokee County Animal Shelter.
“As a role model in the animal field, she will bring to the club some of the compassion we’re looking for to reduce bullying and aggression in the schools,” said shelter director Sue Garcia.
Stilwell said education starts with the young and the students can help spread her message.
“If you want a puppy, if you want a dog, don’t go to a pet store because then you’ll be buying into the neglect and abuse of millions of animals in this country that have been bred in puppy mills,” said Stilwell. “Go to a rescue shelter instead.”
The dog trainer also said adults have a responsibility when it comes to the homeless pet crisis.
“We need to have education out there,” said Stilwell. “We need to say to people c’mon Georgia, stand up, take note, spay and neuter your pets. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. Do it.”
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