Congratulations to the winners of our You Write It Contest in the January 9, 2012, issue. We couldn’t have written these articles better ourselves!
(Click here to read the You Write It interview that inspired these articles.)
Check out the winning entries below.
A Dog’s Best Friend
Christina Stebbins is a 13-year-old girl who participated in a program called Unleashed. Unleashed is a program for middle-school girls. They discover homes for dogs that don’t have a home and that would normally be put down.
The program’s director finds dogs in pounds or shelters across the country and sends them to New York City. Once there, the dogs have a foster family and remain there until they’re adopted. Some students write letters to dogs, which are read aloud to the dogs to calm them. Christina wrote to a dog named Alana, who used to be a bait dog. Christina says, “She was used to rile up fighting dogs. They would put her in the ring, and fighting dogs would attack her. She barely survived. I visited the sanctuary and met her. She was incredibly shy, but she slowly warmed up to me. When I saw how willingly she trusted me, I felt like everything could change in the world if we just trusted each other a little more.”
Unleashed is important because these dogs, without Unleashed, probably would’ve died. When asked what she’s learned, Christina said, “A lot of people don’t think about how they can help others. Now I not only understand animals more, but I also understand people more. Unleashed is not just a chance to pet cute puppies. It’s about getting us to think about what we can do for the community—what we can do for other people.”
Unleashed is an interesting program. The program helps animals find homes by taking them out of shelters and turning them into foster dogs. The people who created this program took a risk in order to save dogs. But, the risk paid off because they’re saving animals from being abused, neglected, and put to sleep everyday.
Alana is a dog that a girl named Christina Stebbins helped by writing her letters after Alana had been saved from the fighting ring. In the Scope interview, Christina said, “She was incredibly shy.” Animals act the way they are raised. If they are beaten, they can often react in a violent ways. If they’re neglected, they can react very shyly. Obviously, Alana was neglected and abused because she was put in a ring with other dogs and used as bait. Sometimes fights like those could end in either a serious beating, or even worse, death. People who put their dogs in fighting rings don’t care about that animal or what happens to it. All they care about is the money they get when their animal wins. A lot of the time when animals are found with a serious injury, the veterinarians have to euthanize them anyway because they can’t fix them. If you cant take care of the animal, then don’t get it in the first place.
Unleashed isn’t just about saving dogs or adopting them, it’s also about getting out in the world and interacting with people. In the article Christina said, “It’s about getting us to think about what we can do for the community—what we can do for other people.”
These days, it’s rare to see kids hanging outside and enjoying the fresh air. Everyone is mostly inside playing video games and watching TV. If we could have more programs that let people interact with their community, the world would be a more interesting place to live in. In conclusion, Unleashed can help animals and humans. If everyone wants to see people outside, enjoying life, and saving animals, the community needs more programs like Unleashed. If everyone interacted with people a lot more, what would the world be like in the future?
Christina participated in a program called Unleashed. Unleashed is a program for middle school girls in which students rescue the dogs and help find homes for them. If they didn’t help, the dogs would probably be put down.
This is how it works: the director finds the dogs in shelters from all over the country and has them transported to New York City. While the dogs are waiting to find their new homes they live with some people who are their foster family for now. The people who are interested in adopting send in forms and applications for Unleashed to talk about so that they can find the dog the best home.
In Scope, Christina says that they each wrote a letter to a dog in an animal shelter, where the caretakers read the letters aloud to them. “These dogs can’t be released into society because of something traumatic that happened to them.” Christina wrote a letter to a dog named Alana. “Alana was a bait dog, which means that she was used to rile up fighting dogs. They would put her in the ring, and fighting dogs would attack her. She barely survived,” Christina says.
If it weren’t for the Unleashed program, many of the dogs would have died. Christina says not only does she understand animals more but she understands people more too. I don’t think animal abuse is good. Maybe I don’t like a lot of animals but I still don’t want them to be abused. It’s similar to not liking someone but you wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to them. I think they should have different programs like this in every state.
Imagine a world where no dogs are homeless or getting abused. Where no dogs have to be crammed into cages in overcrowded shelters, where none are neglected or treated poorly. No dog or any life form should have to go through that kind of suffering. Well, now imagine a organization that helps to solve the problem and teaches girls the meaning of responsibility and quality animal care. That is what the Unleashed program is all about. This is a program that gets many lucky dogs a loving home.
First, it helps get dogs homes by getting them out of shelters and putting them in foster homes where they get the love and care they need. Until adopted, they will stay in a foster home until someone is chosen to adopt the dog and brings them to their home. That means that more dogs will have loving homes to live in where their owners don’t neglect, abuse, or mistreat them. Just because they aren’t humans, doesn’t mean they should be treated as any less. That is just a wrong and cruel thing to do to anyone or anything.
Not only does this amazing program help out dogs, it also teaches girls trust and responsibility. Those dogs are not going to adopt themselves. People need to know that dogs need to be adopted. They need to spread the word.
But what happens if dogs don’t get a home? They will have to go through something very horrible—they have to be put to sleep! No one wants that to happen to any animal. In conclusion, this program not only helps dogs get homes, it prevents them from being put to sleep which is basically killing them for no good reason. Plus, it benefits girls too by teaching them responsibility. Now, from reading this essay, do you think this program is worth having?
Christina Stebbins, 13, has been unleashed. Christina participated in a program called Unleashed, which is a leadership program for middle school girls to rescue and find homes for dogs that would otherwise be put to sleep. The director of Unleashed finds dogs in shelters across the country and sends them to New York City. Until they can find people to adopt them, these dogs live in temporary homes with foster families.
Another project by Unleashed is writing letters to dogs at an animal sanctuary that their caretakers read aloud to them. The dogs at the sanctuary can’t be released into society. Christina wrote to Alana, a bait dog that was used to rile up fighting dogs. “They would put her in the ring, and fighting dogs would attack her. She barely survived,” Christina told Scope.
Eventually Christina visited the sanctuary to meet her. Alana was very shy but she slowly warmed up to Christina. “When I saw how willingly she trusted me, I felt like everything could change in the world if we just trusted each other a little more,” Christina tells Scope.
Christina says that programs like Unleashed are so important because many dogs are euthanized because shelters don’t have enough money to support them. If they hadn’t done anything about it, more dogs would have been killed.
Christina, along with many others who participated in Unleashed, learned that a lot of people don’t think they can help others. Now Christina not only understands more about animals, she also understands more about people.
“Unleashed is not just a chance to pet cute puppies,” Christina says. “It’s about getting us to think about what we can do for the community—what we can do for other people.” Unleashed also gave Christina the opportunity to be a dog’s best friend. But we know the feeling is mutual.