|Roma Hayward in Bermuda|
Presenters around the world from non-profit Doggone Safe educated nearly 40,000 children about safety around dogs during the month of May in celebration of Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 20-26, 2012). Events for the International Dog Bite Prevention Challenge took place in ten countries, six Canadian provinces and twenty one US states.
Half of all children are bitten by a dog and most of the time the biter is the family dog or another dog known to the child. Dog bites can be emotionally and physically scarring for a child and can cost the dog his life. “Dog bites are preventable and we are very proud of the efforts of all our presenters as they work hard during Dog Bite Prevention Week and all year doing community education to help reduce the risk of dog bites to children”, said Joan Orr, president and cofounder of Doggone Safe.
The “Be a Tree” program is a dog bite prevention presentation for school children. Children learn that a happy dog pants and wags his tail loosely, while an anxious dog may show a half moon of white in his eye, yawn, lick his lips or turn away. A dog that does not want to meet them has his mouth closed and may hold his tail and body stiff, or wag his tail slowly. They learn how to let a dog approach them and how to pet it safely, after asking permission. They learn to avoid dangerous situations with dogs and how to Be a Tree if a strange dog approaches them or any dog is bothering them. To Be a Tree they stop, fold their branches (hands clasped in front), watch their roots grow (look at their feet) and count their breaths in their head until help comes or the dog goes away. The Be a Tree program is fun and interactive with a goal to empower and not to frighten children.
As a direct result of the Challenge Doggone Safe accumulated 516 new likes on Facebook, reached an average of 25,000 people per week in May, had 3029 blog page views and 126 new Be a Tree presenters joined the team.
Thanks to the 64 presenters who participated and to all our members and supporters who passed on our educational materials through social media!