Poverty is one of the main causes of canine overpopulation and abandonment, but lack of education is another. Many people in Guatemala simply do not know how to properly care of a dog. For example. They are unaware that some food or medication is poisonous to dogs or do not realize that dogs are social animals that cannot spend their lives chained up or left alone on a rooftop. There are also many misunderstandings about spaying and neutering. Some people think that male dogs will not guard the house after being castrated, or that a female needs to have at least one litter in her life.

In order to educate about animal welfare, we have published a twenty-four-page activity book written and designed by artist and team member Carin Steen. We believe education is a key cornerstone for any social change, and focusing on youth will make the most long-term impact

How to Care for My Dog (¿Cómo Cuidar a mi Chucho?) was designed and written by author/artist Carin Steen to be relevant to both children and adults from our target demographic with tips and practical information to educate engagingly. It takes into account the circumstances in which many people live in Guatemala with illustrations that reflect their communities and way of life.

Some of the themes covered in the book include respect for and the humane treatment of animals, how to care for dogs and their basic necessities, the importance of sterilization and vaccination, and understanding canine body language and how to avoid dog bites.

To promote humane and responsible pet care, we give copies to everyone who comes to our spay and neuter clinics. Often children come with their parents and wait while their dog or cat is being sterilized, so reading and coloring the book becomes a family activity and everyone learns.

In addition, we have distributed some of the first 5000 copies printed to other animal welfare groups in Guatemala to help support their educational efforts. We have also given the book to several organizations that provide social and medical services to families and children.

How to Care for My Dog was developed to be free. Printed copies may not be sold, and a digital PDF version is available to everyone. You can download your free copy here.

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A teacher manual to accompany the book will soon be available.