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We can all learn a healthy lesson from our dogs!

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ‘I know why.’

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ‘People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?’ The Six-year-old continued, ‘Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.’

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy-ride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.


How to Know if a Student is Being Bullied

If you notice a behavior change, you may want to talk to the child to see if there is anything wrong. For example, if a child is normally out-going and willing to participate one day and then all of a sudden they’re quiet and afraid to raise their hand. Or, a calm child becomes loud and obnoxious. If this happens, you may want to talk to the child to see if someone is bullying them. Unfortunately when you ask the student if there is a problem he/she may not give you a truthful answer so it is ery important that you recognize warning signs.

Here are a list of warning signs:

  • Child is sick from school more than usual
  • Child stops wanting to participate in classroom activities
  • Child’s school work becomes sloppy
  • Child’s grades unexplainable drop
  • Child starts coming to school with torn clothing
  • Child is afraid to board the bus or walk home from school
  • Child is afraid to go out on the playground
  • Child wants to go home for lunch

By keeping a watchful eye you can help to prevent serious emotional and physical damage.

Copyright Richard Paul 2004

Jericho Public Schools Say No to Bullying

Jericho Public Schools, New York have put into place an awesome anti-bullying character building theme in there schools. Both students and faculty of the elementary and middles schools are working together as a team to encourage students and staff to speak up and end the bullying.


They have implemented art projects with anti bully messages and posters to reinforce positive behavior. Student also pledge to “be an up stander and not a by stander.”

The emphasis is to promote self-esteem, respect and student anti-bullying involvement.


Share some thing your school district is doing.

KIPP Conference, Stop The Bullying Session

Recently I presented at a conference in San Antonio, Texas, to a group of awesome middles school teachers and administrators. We each shared some tips and suggestions that can help defuse a bullying situation.


We talked about many techniques that can help victims of a bully and some things that don’t work. We all agreed that eye contact is one of the best ways to stand up to a bully and  how it allows the victims to express confidence and self-esteem.


Another suggestion was to select three students from the class room to act out a bullying situation, allowing students to see how it looks and feels to be a victim of a bully or group of bullies.  The social studies teacher explained how she has two students pretend to be the gossip girls and the third student stands center stage listening to all the bad things they are saying about her. Then she opens it up to the rest of the class to discuss their reaction to what they just witnessed.  She said that nine times out of ten, the students either share how wrong they think it is to talk about another or offer of tips to the victim.


Another suggestion was to bring the alleged bully and victim together to talk it out in front of a small panel of students and social worker or teacher working as mediators to help find a common ground and put and end to the bullying.


Each of these suggestions has been implemented and has helped bring an end to bullying problems in their schools. If you have suggestions that have worked at your school please respond to this blog.