Help PAWS as they expand their Pet-Focused Compassion Education programs by donating to PAWS through Old Bill’s Fun Run. Photo: PAWS

JACKSON, Wyo. — PAWS of Jackson Hole continues to expand its Pet-Focused Compassion Education Program.

PAWS supports local TCSD #1’s Students and Faculty

Teton County School District’s CREST Program (Community + Recreation = Enrich Student’s Time) began as a way for local nonprofits and organizations to offer fun and active lessons for elementary students while teachers were engaged with the occasional in-service training day. As school schedules were scrambled in 2020 due to COVID, PAWS was able to step in and provide Pet-Focused Compassion Education to more than 650 Teton County School District 1st- 5th grade students while visiting 60 classrooms at Colter, Wilson, and Jackson Elementary Schools. Thank you to everyone who supported Pet-Focused Compassion Education programs.

PAWS Pet-Focused Compassion Education Basics

The Red Rover Readers program allows PAWS to read a pet-related story that teaches students about empathy, compassion, and responsibility. Through these books and activities, local 3rd graders expand their awareness of emotions while learning about dogs, cats, and their peers. By exploring animal welfare issues, 4th and 5th grade students learn what it means to become an advocate for pets. Issues include the importance and function of local animal shelters, the positive impact of spay and neuter programs play in our communities, and how to become a responsible pet owner. We have incorporated new activities (Poop Fairy Relay Races, Pet Yoga, Cat Interviews, a Tennis Ball Overpopulation game, etc.) to ensure the students have some fun and get a little exercise while learning.

Why Pet-Focused Compassion Education? 

There is a direct link between animal cruelty, domestic violence, and child abuse. People who are cruel to animals are very likely to commit violence against people. These behaviors are passed on from one generation to the next and often involve drugs and alcohol. There is a great need to educate people, particularly young school children, about compassion, empathy, kindness, and responsibility for all living creatures. Programs like this create less bullying at school and children become better students and community members. These life-skills often help build better relationships at school, at home, and throughout the community.

PAWS Compassion Education History

During the 2018/2019 academic year, PAWS of Jackson Hole created and launched its Pet-Focused Compassion Education curriculum in partnership with Teton County School District #401 (Teton Valley, Idaho). The pilot program included a PAWS educator and School Guidance Counselor teaching 45-minute humane education lessons to all Rendezvous Upper Elementary School (RUES) 4th and 5th grade students. The program was a huge success and PAWS was invited back to RUES in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. The educational program was also offered in Star Valley at Etna Elementary for all 5th grade students (150) during the 2019/2020 school year, but it was not offered the last two school years due to COVID. PAWS was able to expand the program to Teton County School District #1 (Teton County, WY) and the program was taught to over 650 students in Jackson during the 2020/21 school year.

Help PAWS as they expand their Pet-Focused Compassion Education programs by donating to PAWS through Old Bill’s Fun Run.

For more information on PAWS Pet-Focused Compassion Education please go to, call our office at 307.734.2441, or email



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