VIRTUAL LEARNING DISTRACTIONS: OUR PETS
This school year poses a variety of challenges. Interruptions from family members, gaming, social media, and even our pets -- may cause unnecessary distractions from virtual classroom study and require more creative solutions.
Robyn Harris, Dallas Independent School District, News and Information Director, said that “all students (approximately 145,000) are virtual at this time, as we have not begun in-person learning. Student online participation is over 90% and growing daily.” In addition, they provided a series of 3-hour informational sessions for parents including, “Motivating My Child to Learn at Home.”
Other parents have opted for a combination of hybrid learning involving tutors, home school, and some online experiences for their children. Many parents are also working from home with little time left for animal care or dog walking.
Kathy Collins, owner of Kinder Kritter, Inc. in Dallas, “We’ve talked with many parents who are now dropping their dogs off for day care, boarding or grooming during the day, as a way to lower those pet distractions. It’s nice to have a dog around to pet and love, but many require our full attention. Some say their dogs are even depressed for lack of stimulation during COVID-19. Our dogs are really like family members with their own set of needs.”
When asked how Kennels are dealing with COVID and the various safety issues involved, Collins said, “When the lock down first came, we stayed open only for first responders or health care workers who needed to use our day care. After a couple weeks, we closed as most businesses did. Since June, though, we’ve had over 135 new clients, increased staff and given them all safety training. At first, our biggest challenge was curbside drop off and pick up, but we’ve learned the best and safest ways to accommodate.”
“We’ve seen an increase of those bringing in their dogs not just to keep them out of the virtual learning space, but because they are pouting! Many are also needing to work from home and aren’t able to walk their dogs or spend quality time with them,” Cristina Raslan, manager, said. “Dogs need socialization too! A place like ours provides both indoor and outdoor activities, playtime with bubbles, a kiddie pool, holiday costume contests and photos. We even have a webcam in the indoor play area so parents or kids can check in on them during a break from studies!”
Raslan was quick to point out that the dogs seem ready to get out of the house as well, “Dogs seem so happy when they arrive -- like they remember other dog friends and are happy to be with our staff. Dogs even form their own little social groups during play and nap time.”
We asked Collins for tips on how to pick the best Kennel or boarding facility for pets. “I would say those that request proof of shots, and in-person evaluation, cleanliness of the facility, and a really joyful staff would be tops. Also, is the location readily available? If the staff is kind to animals, you can pick up on that quickly – even at the first drop-off.”
To learn more about the Parent Portal or to take the session titled, “Motivating My child to Learn at Home,” which addresses additional distractions and how to address them, please visit their website at https://thehub.dallasisd.org and look for the specific topics on distance learning or safety protocols for health and wellness.
Parents may also contact Cristina at Kinder Kritter for additional suggestions on how to work with their dogs to limit distractions at home, 214-321-3939 or visit their website www.kinderkritter.net
(NOTE: Our thanks to Delani Simmons, for sharing the photo of her and Rocky "studying.")