Thanks to all Shelter Volunteers, Especially our Annual Service Award Winner

2014-15 Shelter Service Award: Dr. Sally Hodson

An important part of the mission of the Orcas APS is educating the public about responsible pet care. In the past, this educational outreach has taken place quietly and in the background, through youth-volunteer training, shelter tours, and “how-to” information included as part of each pet adoption. Recently, however, the educational part our mission has received a huge boost due to the impressive efforts of board member Sally Hodson.

DSC02761_2Starting more or less from scratch, Sally—who has a Ph.D. in the combined fields of education, environmental science and animal behavior—has developed a full curriculum of educational materials for kids in grades K through 6. Her “Pet Pals” program includes presentations on subjects such as “Stay Safe with Pets,” “Caring for Pets,” and “Understanding Pet Talk.” As an education professional with abundant teaching experience, Sally designed her materials to conform with state curriculum guidelines for each grade, and they have been well-received by teachers.

In a short time, Sally has reached scores of island children with Pet Pals presentations in public- and private-school classrooms, preschools, the library, and at the shelter. She has become a popular sight as she walks around pulling a green wagon full of teaching props. The most eye-catching of these is a large stuffed dog that she uses in showing kids how to read canine body language and, if the dog is friendly, how to say hello in a safe and respectful manner—or, if confronted by an unfriendly dog, how to stay calm, stand like a tree, pull in your “branches” and look down at your “roots.”

Sally has plans to expand Pet Pals even further this year. Her efforts have already made a noticeable difference, with many anecdotal sightings of children all over the island greeting others’ pets the correct, “Sally” way—and adults are getting the message, too, through their children.

So thank you, Sally, and congratulations as recipient of the 2015 Orcas APS Shelter Service Award.