The PAWS enrichment class at Great Bend Middle School took on a whole other meaning as students of Teri Rous paused recently to create toys for some friends with four paws.
“During PAWS time the school concentrates on different character traits,” Rous explained.
“This time of the year we have a tendency to think of ourselves and what we want,” she said, noting her seventh and eighth graders wanted a way to pay it forward.
“I happened to be looking on several sites for projects to do for Christmas and came across one for tug-of-war toys for dogs made from T-shirts,” Rous said, noting it seemed to be a project that the majority her students would enjoy.
She sent a request for old T-shirts to GBMS staff and received enough to get the project off the ground.
“I started measuring and making cuts so the students could tear the shirts into strips,” she said. “Then others sorted by length and color.
“Students tied a group of strips together, braided them and tied off the other end,” Rous said. “I had to do a little trimming on each of the toys and then they were ready to give to the dogs.
“It took about two shirts to make each toy and we had enough to make 63 dog toys,” she said. “There was something for each of the students to do and when we were done, they seemed to be proud of themselves.”
The toys were given to Hands for Hope Rescue, a local foster program operated by RaShann Southard.
“I feel blessed they choose us to do this for,” Southard said. “What an amazing group of kids.”
Southard took one of her rescue dogs, Lenny, with her so students could see a rescue dog and give them an idea of what all their wonderful and hard work would go toward.
“I will hand these out to our foster parents to give to their foster dogs to play with and take to their new forever homes,” she said.
Hands of Hope is a foster-only canine rescue dedicated to helping save the lives of dogs in desperate situations such as being in high-kill shelters and owner surrenders.