WALLENPAUPACK -  In the spirit of the holidays and interested in helping animals in need, students from Wallenpaupack North Primary School made animal treats for the dogs and cats at Dessin Animal shelter during December.

All grades created the treats that consisted of two cups of flour and two jars of baby food, with an assortment of fruits, vegetables and poultry. Once mixed, water was added and the ingredients cooked for 20 minutes. When ready, the young animal lovers rolled the dough out and with an assortment of cookie cutters, they shaped the treats. The cat treats were a little more in-depth, as their snack also consisted of cornmeal, cheddar and parmesan cheese.

As part of a program for “Citizens of the Month,” there are themes and December, service was the focus. Altogether, the young humanitarians took turns stirring, rolling and making two to three treats each for the animals.

The project came about, because Tonia Carmody, a guidance counselor in the school wanted to do something “fun” and “hands-on” she said, that the students could do themselves relative to the theme.

The hands-on component was important Carmody explained, because she wanted the students to discover the feeling they would get, by giving something to someone else. By baking the treats, the students would understand what the animals needed while waiting to be adopted.

There were some students familiar with the shelter, but many weren’t and so, through their efforts Carmody wanted the students to learn what their treats would mean for the animals. The project also correlated with the holiday season and the idea of giving.  

In addition to the treats, the young humanitarians crafted decorative bags wishing the dogs and cats a Merry Christmas.

By taking part in the project, Carmody said she saw the students consider what the treats might have meant for the animals, especially those who were familiar with Dessin. Talking and thinking about what their efforts meant, that got the children excited about the project.

There were some students who had clear baking experience Carmody said, as they had no problem putting their hands on the dough and doing what was necessary. While there were others a little hesitant and unsure of what they were to do, since the thought of baby food was ‘gross.’ But most of the children, went right to work.

With kindergarteners to second graders taking part in the task, Carmody said there was a difference in the children’s understanding and skill level, but all were excited. The hands on however, was key as the children loved stirring, rolling and cutting out the treats.

Prior to taking part in the Dessin Animal project, second grader Reilly Buselli baked cookies, but she hadn’t done anything “like this before” she said. Helping the animals in the shelter, felt “really good” because they weren’t wanted and so, that was “sad.”

For Nick Kratzer of the first grade, while he hadn’t baked treats for cats or dogs before, making them was “fun” he said, because he enjoyed working with his classmates.

Whereas second grader Jacob Piggimenti said he enjoyed the hands-on portion of the project, because he liked rolling out the dough and making the treats into various shapes.

Making the treats, Carly Mayer said was an opportunity to give the dogs and cats “more food” that was “just like a gift.”