Andy Cohen spends much of his time dissecting the fabulous lives of the rich and famous. But he found his dog, a beagle-foxhound mix with his own Instagram page, in the most normal of ways ― through a shelter on Petfinder. Now, Cohen has joined in to help bring shelter pets to K-12 classrooms across the country.
The Mutt-i-gree Curriculum, started by the North Shore Animal League America in conjunction with Yale University, links up educators with dogs seeking adoption to teach children lessons on social and emotional intelligence. By interacting with dogs ― or, in some cases, hand puppets and pictures instead of the real deal ― children learn to recognize body language and about nuanced emotions. The curriculum has thus far reached over 4,000 schools.
“It’s so cool, and I’ve seen it myself. The kids really perk up,” said Cohen, who’s linked up with pet food maker Purina ONE to promote the curriculum’s mission. And with the name “Mutt-i-grees,” the program simultaneously promotes shelter pet adoption by likening mixed-breed dogs to those with “pure” pedigrees. (“I’m looking at the cutest [shelter] dog right now, and it just makes me wonder why anyone would go buy one [from a breeder],” Cohen told HuffPost.)
Between now and Sept. 9, Purina ONE will donate an additional $10 for each person who signs their pet up for the company’s 28-Day Challenge ― which “challenges” pet owners to switch to Purina dog food ― on top of a flat $15,000 donation.
On Tuesday, a sleepy NSALA pup named Brody ― a pointer-hound mix who is up for adoption ― visited The Huffington Post. Brody helped us explain Mutt-i-grees on HuffPost Entertainment’s Snapchat channel. Here’s a preview: