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Saskatoon SPCA starts dog pen pal program for kids

A unique pen pal project in Saskatoon has a pooch putting pen to paper.

Paw Pals has pooches putting pen to paper

Moe the pug mix will be the main Paw Pal correspondent. 0:23

A unique pen pal project in Saskatoon has a pooch putting pen to paper.

The Saskatoon SPCA is launching an educational pilot program called Paw Pals, where a 6-year-old pug mix named Moe will be able to correspond with students aged six to 12 from around the city.

Moe is a 6-year-old pug mix. (SPCA)
"It's a wonderful little marry of dogs, which kids love, and also hitting all the curriculum for language arts," said Lindsay Royale, public relations and education coordinator with the Saskatoon SPCA. "They'll write back and forth, and then on the last session the children will get a visit from Moe to the classroom — so they'll be able to meet who they've been interacting with."

According to Royale, four classrooms will be chosen for the cost-free initial run beginning in February. Each class will be delivered a Paw Pal mailbox, personalized letters to each student and all supplies needed to participate.

Lindsay Royale poses with 8-month-old Axel at the Saskatoon SPCA. (Victoria Dinh/CBC)
"The letters are just to show similarities between children and animals, and hopefully instilling some empathy and compassion [in the kids]," Royale said.

"So, there'll be an exchange of what Moe likes to do and the activities that he enjoys and what [the students] like to do and their activities — things like that," she added.

The program runs for about three months, and during that time, students will receive three individualized letters from the pug.

Baby is Moe's former roommate and a potential Paw Pal correspondent in future projects. (Victoria Dinh/CBC)

Royale said the hands on activity is meant the re-ignite the lost language of writing and receiving letters. And if the program proves to be successful, it'll be a source of revenue for the shelter in the future.

"For now it's just the Moe show but eventually, hopefully, we'll be able to introduce other alumni and shelter animals into the program," she said.

Deadline for registration for Paw Pals Program is Feb. 5.

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