Johnnycake and Mays Chapel students help dogs find homes


Every dog deserves his day, according to an old saying.

Every dog deserves a home, according to Grade 4 students at Johnnycake and Mays Chapel elementary schools.

Their visual arts teacher*, Natasha MacNichol, has put together an art project that enables the students to make a strong impact in the lives of dogs in shelters and foster care. BARCS (the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter) and Bella’s Bully Buddies have provided MacNichol with photographs and bios of dogs waiting to be “re-homed.” Using carbon copy transfers and their own imaginations, the students create portraits of the dogs and post them to social media to raise awareness and hopefully find homes for the dogs.


The 51 students from Johnnycake Elementary and 23 students from Mays Chapel Elementary who are working on this project have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that some dogs don't make it out of the shelter.

Sabbah Ghani said she "hopes this project will make a difference. If humans have the chance to have nice lives, dogs should, too."

Derrick Daniels said "I really likes dogs and hope they all get adopted."

The project also has started a conversation about pit bulls and whether or not they are a safe breed. Some students have pitbulls as pets and were happy to do something to counteract negative images of the breed. Some of the students admitted that they thought that all pitbulls were always mean. The project has started to change some of their minds.


For example, Carlos Taylor now sees the dogs as “very loyal and reliable."

“The point of the project is kindness,” MacNichol says. “The Grade 4 curriculum includes a unit about kindness. I wanted the topic of kindness to come into their art lessons as well. By doing the project, the students are showing kindness because they are creating something for someone else, not themselves. However, we also have discussed how showing kindness to animals is equally as important. The kids are really proud to show off their work.”

(* MacNichol, one of Johnnycake’s art teachers, also works one day a week at Mays Chapel Elementary.)

Story and photos submitted by Cara Detwiler, Good News Ambassador, classroom teacher, Johnnycake Elementary School
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