Mia Monje, 6, recently learned at school about dogs and the importance of pet care from a furry friend and familiar book character: Clifford The Big Red Dog.
Dr. Dan Carey, a veterinarian at Bayer Animal Health, went to Coral Park Elementary to read aloud to 160 first-graders and he brought Clifford.
Carey read from the newest book of the series, Clifford Goes to the Doctor, to the group of students, who later raised their hands and asked questions about shots, animal growth, preventing fleas and ticks and why pets should be taken to the veterinarian.
“Dogs need to get shots before they get sick, because, if not, they’re going to get sick,” said Mia, who owns a dog and enjoys reading Clifford books. “They’re good and they’re funny.”
Because of National Pet Month, Bayer Animal Health partnered with Scholastic and Clifford The Big Red Dog, creating limited-edition copies of Clifford Goes to the Doctor.
The release of the book was linked to the international Companion Vector-Borne Disease Symposium, held in Miami on May 9.
During the event, groups of doctors, opinion leaders and scientists gathered to discuss new discoveries regarding the companion vector-borne diseases — also known as CVBD — that can be transmitted through ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and sand flies.
Clifford Goes to the Doctor serves as the bridge for the topics discussed during the seminars, to be communicated to the consumer in an audience-friendly manner. The message is delivered to children through the books, projecting that the kids will speak to their parents about what they learned in the book.
“Kids, at young ages, but any age — from 5 to 50 — are very interested in what they can do better for their pets, and veterinarians can really give a good message,” Carey said. “Clifford puts kids into situations that they see themselves in and as a result they identify, not only with Emily Elizabeth, but in many cases I think they identify with Clifford.”
The book includes pet tips and a letter to parents explaining the program. Fifteen hundred limited-edition copies were distributed throughout Miami-Dade Schools and 200 books were given to Coral Park Elementary.
Marie Meilan is the media specialist at Coral Park Elementary, who was contacted by Bayer to organize the event at the school.
She believes that book-related activities that involve reading aloud are also beneficial to the students’ vocabulary.
“They hear the new words that maybe they haven’t really heard before,” Meilan said. “Also the experience of having a real veterinarian come to our school is another thing that brings the community in, and they are aware of other careers that might be out there, and just the topic of going to the doctor. It’s a topic that’s very common for all of them to express, either fear or being happy to go to the doctor.”