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Online Learning

Online Learning

See below for short lessons about the Humane Rescue Alliance and the animals we care for. Check back often for new lessons!



Now is your chance to be part of the research team!

Join us! Learn what the DC Cat Count study is and how it is conducted; plus develop your own research skills during the process. You and your family may even want to consider participating in the camera trapping effort. Click the link below to understand how the DC Cat Count team is developing tools for counting cats so that animal shelters and leaders in our community can offer the best care for cats and make sure their population management methods are effective. The Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) and its partners—American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Humane Society of the United States, and PetSmart Charities—are building these tools in Washington, D.C., and the District will be an example for other communities interested in better understanding their cat populations.

Click here to become part of the DC Cat Count research team!

Petite Pattes Animal Academy

A high school student’s research leads to the establishment of a small animal rescue

Katheryn Collins is passionate about small animals. She not only educated herself on providing the best possible care for gerbils, hamsters, and mice, but she created a nonprofit organization that rescues and rehomes small mammals.  The 16-year-old, Montgomery County, Maryland high school student, and founder of Petite Pattes Rescue, compiled a library of housing guidelines, toy recommendations, and fun animal facts for the organization’s website. In addition to offering care guides, complete with entertaining videos, the Petite Pattes Rescue site features descriptions of currently available small critters – a reminder that shelters and rescues are the perfect place to find gerbils, hamsters, mice, and other small animals in need of loving homes.

HRA sat down with Katheryn to learn more about Petite Pattes Rescue. She emphasized the importance of purchasing the largest possible enclosure, the right size wheel, and appropriate climbing apparatuses. She acknowledged that those brightly colored cages may be appealing to look at, but the plastic toy-like enclosures are not suitable habitats for small animals.

Enjoy the video, then test your small animal knowledge by answering the questions below.

four questions after the video

  1. What is one reason why gerbils should not be kept in plastic cages?
  2. Why do hamsters need wood chew toys?
  3. Why do mice need a big wheel? What long body part do they have that does not bend?
  4. Why are vertical spaces important for mice?
  5. True or false – mice, gerbils, and hamsters are all part of the rodent family.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Petite Pattes was featured in the Washington Post. The article, written by Melanie Kaplan, can be found here.

HRA often has small mammals available for adoption. To view those animals currently available for adoption, click here.

Young animal advocates make the world a better place for animals. In 2008, 11-year-old Mimi Ausland decided to help provide food for her local animal shelter. Rather than donating a bag or two, she created a nonprofit, Freekibble which, 13 years later, continues to provide pet food and cat litter to shelters and food pantries across the United States.

Do you know someone who has created an ongoing program to help animals? If so, send their name and contact information to [email protected].

Answers to the above questions:

  1. Gerbils chew everything, including plastic, and will chew through the plastic.
  2. To help “trim” their teeth. Hamsters, rabbits, and chinchillas have long teeth that continuously grow. It is important to provide toys, hay, and food that will help them to keep their teeth an ideal length.
  3. Mice cannot bend their tails.
  4. Mice are excellent climbers
  5. Gerbils, hamsters, and mice, along with rats and guinea pigs, are all rodents.

Crafting for Animals

Crafting Cat and Rabbit Toys by Recycling and Reusing a Common Household Item

Girl Scout Hannah holding her homemade toys.

Girl Scout Hannah B. chose to earn her Silver Award by creating an enrichment project for shelter cats. She made simple cat toys out of toilet paper rolls, a common throw-away household item. Hannah demonstrates how to make the toys in the video below. Watch Hannah's step-by-step video and answer the questions below:


  1. Why did Hannah B. choose to make the cat toys video?
  2. What are the materials needed to make the toys?
  3. What other companion animals, besides cats, will enjoy the toys?
  4. Who, besides Hannah, can make similar toys?
** To make the toys even more enticing for cats, sprinkle a little bit of catnip on them.
*** Bunnies may enjoy some Timothy hay and a piece of fruit or vegetable added to the inside of the cylinder.


Girl Scout Earns Her Silver Award for No-Sew Blankets Like Those She Donated To HRA

Girl Scout Catie D. earned her silver award for demonstrating how to make these no-sew blankets. Check out her step-by-step video and answer the questions about the video below.

four questions to answer after viewing the video

  1. Why did Catie D. choose to make the no-sew blanket video?
  2. What are the materials needed to make the no-sew blankets?
  3. How did the binder clips help with Catie D's project?
  4. Where did Catie D. take the finished no-sew blankets?


Daniel and Adam Create Colorful Snuffle Mats and No-Sew Blankets for the Animals at HRA 



Creating no-sew blankets and snuffle mats from home is a good way to pass the time, help shelter animals, and earn service-learning hours. Brothers Daniel and Adam spent nearly 40 hours crafting colorful no-sew blankets and snuffle mats. No-sew fleece blankets provide soft, cozy bedding for cats and dogs. Snuffle mats are challenging, mind-bending dog puzzles. Dogs use their sharp sense of smell to sniff out the kibble and treats hidden beneath the layers of colorful fleece. Snuffle mats offer entertainment for people, too. Watching a dog sniff and gobble through the snuffle mat is lots of fun! 

Interested in getting creative for companion animals? Check out more ideas on how to build sew, bake and create for  animals at home and in shelters:

Animal Careers

Meet HRA staff with interesting jobs who help care for and protect animals in need.

Meet HRA's Officers 

Four Questions to Answer After Viewing the Video 

  1. What number can you call to report a sick, injured, lost, abused, or abandoned animal? 
  2. When can you call HRA? 
  3. How many days a week are officers available in the District of Columbia? 
  4. What animals will HRA officers help? 

SAFETY TIP: Please don’t approach a sick, injured, lost, abused, or abandoned animals. If you see an animal who needs help, call (202) 576-6664. Officers are trained to help animals so that the animal and the officer remain safe. 


  • Add HRA (202-576-6664) to your favorite contacts in your phone. 
  • Take the pledge: I pledge to protect animals from cruelty or harm. I will report any abandoned, abused, neglected, or injured animal to the Humane Rescue Alliance. 

Meet Dr. Nelson  

Four Questions to Answer After Viewing the VideO 

  1. What kind of medicine does Dr. Nelson practice? 
  2. What skills did Dr. Nelson mention are important to have in order to do her job effectively? 
  3. Where is Dr. Nelson from? 
  4. What did Dr. Nelson teach in India?  


  • Dr. Nelson mentioned that she had a liberal arts degree. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College.
  • There are currently 30 colleges of veterinary medicine and just under 200 human medical schools in the United States. 

Advice from Dr. Nelson

My recommendation for anyone interested in becoming a veterinarian (shelter or otherwise) is to research the educational and work requirements for vet school early on. There are lots of prerequisites to becoming a veterinarian and since it's an intensive career, you want to be sure that it's something you want to do for the rest of your life. Of course, there is more than one pathway to vet school! Since I decided to become a veterinarian later in life, after I graduated from college, it took me an extra three years of science classes before I could apply to vet school. But I don't regret a day of it! I got to travel the world, learn another language, and work in a few different career paths before deciding that veterinary medicine was right for me.

Meet Shakela Brown: Learn More About HRA's HOPE Program


  1. What does the HOPE acronym stand for: HELP OUT, PARTNER, and _____?
  2. What time does Shak get up in the morning in order to pick up animals and transport them to HRA's medical center in time for spay/neuter surgery?
  3. What other jobs did Shak have at HRA prior to overseeing the HOPE program?
  4. What kind of program is HOPE, punitive or preventive?


  • In 2019, 506 cats and dogs were spayed or neutered through HRA's HOPE program
  • In 2019, nearly 38,000 pounds of dry cat and dry dog food were distributed to Pet Pantry clients. That's almost as much as the weight of:
    • One blue whale (40,000 lbs)
    • Three elephants (12,000 lbs each)
    • One mobile home (40,000 lbs)
    • Two garbage trucks (18,000 lbs each)
  • In 2019, nearly 9,000 cans of wet cat and dog food were distributed to Pet Pantry clients. That is more than:
    • Three small hippopotamuses and less than four large hippopotamuses (2,500-3,300 lbs each)
    • More than two Ford F150 pickup trucks (4,330 lbs each)
  • In 2019, more than 3,000 lbs. of cat litter were distributed to Pet Pantry cat owners. That's about the same as:
    • One Toyota Prius
    • 15 refrigerators (average 200 lbs each)

What Can You Do to Support HRA's HOPE Program:

In addition to providing spay/neuter surgery, food, and cat litter, the HOPE program also distributes toys and pet supplies to pet owners. Check out the Projects to do at Home page and consider making toys or beds to donate o the HOPE program. HRA will be happy to receive these items once regular business hours resume.

Animal-Related Careers

Are you interested in a career helping animals? Do you want to learn more about jobs that include animals? How many animal-related careers can you name?

Grab a snack, get comfortable, and click on the 90-minute special Careers – Working with Animals Event recording. Then continue your careers journey by answering the four questions below.

Many thanks to the Animal Humane Society in Minnesota for allowing us to share their Day in the Life video during the event.

Thank you also to Working with Animals event guest speakers, Jackie Moyano from Behavior United and Ada Petties and Ivana Yakovleff from Dawgs and Paws for sharing their expertise.


  1. What are your favorite subjects in school?
  2. What are your hobbies and interests?
  3. What are your some of your character traits? Examples may include adventurous, enthusiastic, imaginative, easy-going, reliable, funny, methodical, serious, creative or hundreds of others.
  4. What careers do you want to investigate further?

Want to learn more about careers working with animals?

Identify people in your community with cool animal-related jobs. Email or call them to schedule an interview.

  • Arrange to talk to someone who works at the local animal shelter.
  • Contact someone at a grooming salon, a dog trainer, or the owner of doggie daycare or pet sitting business.
  •  Connect with a local a wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Reach out to an author whose books about animals you admire.
  • Book an appointment with a city or county council member, lawyer, or animal control officer to discuss how their jobs impact the welfare of animals.

Continue your animal-related career investigation by reading books about animal-related careers. Here are just a few:

So, You Want to Work with Animals?: Discover Fantastic Ways to Work with Animals, from Veterinary Science to Aquatic Biology (Be What You Want) by J.M. Bedell

Great Careers Working with Animals Library by Derek Moon

I Like Animals what jobs are there? by Steve Martin

Wild Vet Adventures: Saving Animals Around the World With Dr. Gabby Wild by Gabby Wild and Jennifer Szymanski

Animal Adoptions at HRA

Learn About HRA Adoption Counselors

We are always happy whenever one of the animals in our care is adopted into a new home. Our adoption counselors have interesting jobs; they are equal parts matchmaker, educator, coach, and cheerleader. They introduce prospective adopters to animals needing homes. They also answer questions and share information that will help adopters choose the right companion animal for them.

You have the opportunity to be an HRA adoption counselor! View the slides here and help potential adopters decide which animal is the best fit for their home.


  • HRA found homes for more than 5,000 animals in 2019.
  • Luna, Bella, Charlie, Cooper, and Lucy are the most popular puppy names in 2020 (Trupanion, 2020).
  • Oliver and Bella are the most popular cat names (Cat Fanciers Association, Nationwide Pet Insurance Policyholder Database, and FindCatNames.com).
  • Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families, live with a companion animal (American Pet Products Association's National Pet Owners Survey, 2019-2020).
  • Approximately 3.2 million (and growing!) cats and dogs are adopted from shelters across the United States (ASPCA, 2017) .

Help Promote Shelter Adoptions

If you and your family are thinking about acquiring a companion animal, consider adopting from a shelter. 

When you adopt from a shelter, you are...

  • Saving a life 
  • Breaking the cycle of overpopulation
  • Joining a shelter community, giving you access to a lifetime supply of support and resources
  • Choosing a pet from large selection of animals, including different types of breeds, ages, and personalities
  • Helping your community, yourself, and your new animal best friend 

Did you know that HRA's online animal adoption pages are updated in real time? Click here to see our adoptable animals!

If you already adopted an animal from a shelter, be sure to let others know that your companion animal was adopted and that there are so many animals for them to chose from too!

Share photos and stories about HRA, other local shelters, and/or your adopted pet through school and community projects. (Service learning hours may be available for completed projects.)

If you're on social media, be sure to follow HRA's Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Don't forget to spread the word to your friends and followers by sharing HRA's posts! 

We love getting updates from adopters!

We love hearing how animals are doing in their adoptive homes! We especially enjoy receiving photos and videos of them. See how Jester and Ella (former HRA adoptees) are doing in their new homes with a video update from Alex and William: 


Information for You and Your Pet

Be Prepared - Have an Emergency Pet Plan in Place

(added April 17, 2020)

Ready or Not, Here it Comes by Howard Edelstein


  1. Identify three natural disasters that may cause a family to leave their home temporarily?
  2. Where do Fanny and her family go during the hurricane in Ready or Not, Here it Comes?
  3. How was Fanny able to get out of the fenced-in yard after the hurricane?
  4. How did the shelter staff know who to call when Fanny was brought to the shelter?


Howard Edelstein has been helping animals for decades. He regularly assists animal welfare organizations, including HRA, in many ways -- from computer support to adoption events and dog walking. In 2003, Howard, an avid runner, created the annual Poplar Spring Run for the Animals in Montgomery County, Maryland to support rescued farm animals. Howard’s book, Ready or Not, Here it Comes, draws on his experiences from the frontlines; he is often called to help temporarily shelter animals in pop-up facilities as a result of natural disasters and large-scale animal cruelty cases, such as hoarding situations and puppy mills.

In May 2013 a catastrophic tornado ripped through the town of Moore, OK, causing severe damage that displaced many animals. Three temporary shelters were set up to care for the animals. Shelter staff and volunteers, including Howard, created a bulletin board to display each animal’s photo; when visitors recognized their pet, they were taken through the makeshift kennels to positively identify their companion animal. “It was heartwarming to help reunite pets with their families.”  Click here for more information about the Moore, Oklahoma 2013 tornado. 


  • Read the book or watch the video Ready or Not, Here it Comes.
  • Make a safety plan before disaster strikes.
    • Determine where you and your pet will safely go during an evacuation - that might be to a friend or family member's home, a government-provided shelter, or a hotel/motel.
      • Go Pet Friendly lists pet-friendly hotels and campgrounds.
  • Make sure that your pet's vaccinations are always up to date.
    • Pets should be microchipped and wear current ID tags, too.
  • Have a picture available that shows you with your pet. If your pet gets lost you can show the photo to neighbors and shelter staff. The photo will prove that your pet belongs with you.


  • A week's supply of food and treats in an airtight, waterproof container
  • A week's supply of drinking water
  • A manual can opener
  • Food and water bowls
  • Plastic bags, paper towels, and cleaning supplies
  • A collar and leash with ID and rabies tags
  • A recent photo of you with your pet
  • Vaccination records
  • Medication (if necessary)
  • Toys (always a good idea!)
  • A blanket
  • Towels
  • A copy of emergency phone numbers including the veterinarian's information
  • Pet first aid book & kit

Download this Pet Emergency Kit.

For more information on how to keep your pet safe during a disaster check out Red Rover's Pet Disaster Preparedness.


Check out suggestions from:

  • Ready.Gov
  • American Red Cross
  • Center for Disease Control
  • What snacks will you pack?
  • What favorite books and games will you pack?
  • Do you have a favorite stuffed animal to bring?


Sometimes disaster strikes with no warning. Many animals have been rescued from burning homes because firefighters saw the In Case of An Emergency Pets Inside Alert Sticker on a door or window. Click here to obtain a FREE In Case of An Emergency Pets Inside Alert Sticker Pack.


Humane Heroes

Girl Scouts Bring Attention to Bats in D.C.: Humane Heroes

(added October 15, 2020)

Girl Scouts from the Capital Hill Cluster School met with D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen in state their case for making the bat the official D.C. mammal.

How does a bill become a law in Washington, D.C.? First, there is an idea. The idea should make life better for the citizens of the city and improve the community in which the citizens live. Those ideas can come from anyone, including four determined Girl Scout Troops. The girls in troops #44046 (Daisies: K-1st grades),  #44047 (Brownies: 2nd-3rd grades), #44051 (Juniors: 4th-5th grades), #44082 (Cadettes: 6th-8th grades), all associated  with the Capitol Hill Cluster School, decided that the best way to bring attention to the endangered bat population was to name the little brown bat the official mammal of Washington, D.C.

How does the endangered bat population affect Washington, D.C.? And, why does the bats’ very existence make life better for the citizens in the District of Columbia?

The Girl Scouts are quick to provide those answers. Their research showed that bats are significant members of the ecosystem. Bats, like bees, are pollinators. They are champion gardeners, dispersing seeds that grow into the fruits and vegetables that we eat. And, best of all, bats devour thousands of insects each night including pesky mosquitos. However, despite their importance, bats are largely feared and wrongly portrayed as spooky, blood-sucking rabid creatures. A very small percentage of bats carry rabies and only the teeny, tiny vampire bat draws any blood when it bites. And, those bites most often occur in cattle not people; there aren’t any blood-sucking bats in the metro-D.C. area. Their good far outweighs the bad.

The girls also learned that many bats are exposed to White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by a fungus so deadly that, three of the species on the Virginia list are federally endangered and all 10 types of bats in Maryland are "considered to be species of greatest conservation need." And even worse, the Girl Scouts’ original idea was to propose that the little brown bat be named D.C.'s mammal, however due to WNS there has not been a verified sighting of a little brown bat in D.C. in more than 15 years! Not to be deterred, the troops proposed that the big brown bat, rather than the little brown bat, become the official state mammal.

The Girl Scouts hard work and perseverance is paying off. It is expected that the big brown bat will soon become the official state  animal nearly two years after the Girl Scouts started their crusade. The Girl Scouts made their initial presentation to Councilman Charles Allen in March, 2019. Nearly a year  later, in January 2020, Troops 44051, 44047, and 44046 presented their case to a Council Committee and in September, 2020, Bill 23-302 was passed. That doesn’t mean it’s official yet -- the  bill still requires a final vote. Bill 23-302 will be presented to Mayor Muriel Bowser and then a 30-day Congressional review takes place due to Home Rule Act. And, then finally, Bill 23-302 will become a law, making the big brown bat the official mammal  of Washington, D.C.

Thank you Girl Scout troops 44046, 44047, 44051, and 44082 for your hard work and efforts to educate people about the plight of the little brown bat, the big brown bat and all of the many other species of bats.


  1. Which bat did the Girl Scouts initially hope to make the official bat of Washington?
  2. What do bats like to eat?
  3. How are bats like bees?
  4. Which bat will soon be the official mammal of Washington, D.C.?

The Girl Scouts want you to know - you can take your message to the steps of the John A. Wilson Building in Washington, D.C.!

"We helped bats because bats are important. Bats help keep the mosquitos down, and they are the only flying mammals. It also felt very powerful to be testifying before the D.C. Council." - Ava, 6th grade

"Last year, we went on an evening walk with a bat expert along the Anacostia River.  We heard so many bats on the bat walk!  D.C. has thousands of bats flying around every night." - Julia, 5th grade

“I want readers to know that little things can make a difference - you don’t realize it but you can change the world.” - Tyne, 5th grade

You can help bats, too!

  • Visit Save The Lucy Campaign  to learn more about how you can help the little brown bat.
  • Build or buy a bat house and place it in your yard or on your house.

Read more about bats:


  • Washington, D.C. has other official symbols including:
    • Official bird – The Wood Thrush
    • Official tree -Scarlet Oak
    • Official fruit - Cherry
    • Official rock - The Potomac Bluestone
  • Thirteen states, including Maryland and Virginia, have an official state dog.
    • Maryland’s is the Chesapeake retriever and Virginia’s is the beagle.
  • Only three states, including Maryland, have an official state cat.
    • The calico cat is Maryland’s official state cat; Maine’s Maine Coon and Massachusetts’ tabby are the other two.

Meet Rodney, A Humane Hero

(added April 9, 2020)

When Animal Control Officer Ryan Jesien responded to a call about a stray cat in a house, he did not realize that the cat was actually trapped below the floorboards. And, when Rodney, a 7th grader, at Johnson Middle School in the District of Columbia, first heard a cat’s cries he did not realize that the cat was inside his home. It didn’t take long, however, for Rodney, and his family, to determine that the panicky mews were coming from beneath their feet! Rodney investigated; he uncovered a vent and shone a light into the darkness. There, staring up at him, was a bedraggled, scared, wide-eyed cat. A family member looked up the Humane Rescue Alliance’s number and called for help. 

Officer Jesien eyeballed the space and knew immediately that he would not be able to squeeze into the opening left by the uncovered vent. Rodney was absolutely certain that he could lower himself down through the opening in the floor. “It’s not very big, I’m skinny, so I knew I would fit, he later said. 

With his mother’s permission, Rodney volunteered to attempt the cat’s rescueHe went into the opening feet first. Following Officer’s Jesien’s instructions, Rodney placed a humane trap a short distance from the cat. Once back on solid flooring Rodney waited. “I stayed quiet,” said Rodney. It didn’t take long; the hungry cat went for the food at the back of the trap, and the door of the trap closed behind her, securing her safe inside. Officer Jesien was summoned back to the house to take the cat to the shelter for a medical exam and care.

“The ear-tipped cat was dusty, thin, and appeared dehydrated. However, even in her debilitated state, she began purring/head-butting,” said Officer Jesien. The kitty continued to show her sweet personality in the shelter, and it didn’t take long before she was adopted into a new home.


  1. What number did Rodney call for help?
  2. Who did Officer Jesien ask for assistance?
  3. How did Rodney know he could fit in the tight space?
  4. Why did the cat go into the trap?


  • Cats are mathematical geniuses. By using their whiskers as measuring sticks, they can determine whether or not they can fit into tight spaces.
    • A cat's whiskers - or vibrissae (dictionary definition -- any of the stuff hairs that are located on the face and especially about the snout of many mannals and typically serve as tactile organs) - are a well-honed sensory tool that helps a cat see in the dark and steer clear of hungry predators.
    • Check out: Why Do Cats Have Whiskers


  • A humane trap is a long metal box that is used to safely catch a cat by applying a simple spring system. In order to lure the cat into the trap, food is placed at the very back next to a trip plate. Then, when the cat is fully inside the trap and steps on the trip plate the bar holding the door open releases, snapping the door of the trap shut and trapping the cat inside. The door automatically drops down and locks in place. Once inside, the cat cannot get out of the trap until someone opens the door.
  • An eartip is the universally-recognized symbol of a cat who has been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and returned to their outdoor home. Because most cats who are returned to their outdoor home (instead of adopted into an indoor-only home) are not social, it can be difficult to determine if a cat is spayed/neutered and vaccinated--the ear tip is a quick and easy sign, visible from a distance. Eartipping is a standard part of most Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs. Eartips are a critical safeguard for outdoor cats, identifying them as cats who live in the community.
    • To learn more about HRA's Community Cats, click here.


The rescued cat's new family named her KoKo. They adopted a second cat who they named, Kion. KoKo is estimated to be five or six-years-old and Kion is not quite a year-old. KoKo's new guardian reported that KoKo is the quiet, reserved one; she is still settling in. For now, KoKo has opted to sleep under the bed rather than on top of it. Pictured below: KoKo taking a break from her dinner while her new family member sits and waits.


Meet Melanie and Hammy

(Added May 13, 2020)

Four Questions to Answer After Viewing the Video

  1. Where was Hammy living before Melanie adopted him?
  2. What mark is permanently on the inside of Hammy's left ear?
  3. What kinds of industries test products on animals?
  4. Why are beagles commonly used to test products in laboratories?


Cruelty Free International defines animal testing as:

Any scientific experiment or test in which a live animal is forced to undergo something that is likely to cause them pain, suffering, distress, or lasting harm. Animals used in laboratories are deliberately harmed, not for their own good, and are usually killed at the end of the experiment.

Animals are used in biomedical research (drugs and surgical techniques) and product safety testing (household products, cosmetics).


Yes, there are numerous safe, effective, and cost-saving alternatives to animal testing. These include complex tests using human cells and tissues, advanced computer modeling, and studies with human volunteers. To learn about alternatives to animal testing check out the following websites:


A number of organizations have waged successful and continuing campaigns to promote the purchase of cruelty-free products instead of those tested on animals, and consumers are paying attention! Cruelty-free, according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), refers tproducts and the ingredients in the products have not been tested on animals. These products are widely available and consumers (just like you!) are changing their purchasing behavior by choosing cruelty-free products.


Look for the Leaping Bunny Logo and use the Cruelty Cutter App to become a more compassionate consumer.

The Leaping Bunny Logo is the internationally recognized symbol guaranteeing consumers that no new animal tests were used in the development of any product displaying it. The logo can be seen on packaging, advertising, and websites for cosmetics and household products around the world.  

The Leaping Bunny web site offers cruelty-free shopping guides, suggestions on how to become a cruelty-free shopper, and ideas on how to encourage companies to eliminate animal testing and have their products certified cruelty-free. 

The Cruelty Cutter app helps consumers become more informed and thoughtful shoppers. Use the app to scan products and get immediate feedback. Alternative products are recommended when scanned products are not cruelty-free. For instance, a quick scan of Proctor and Gamble’s Tide detergent reveals that the frequently advertised laundry detergent is not cruelty-free, however, a click on the cruelty-free-alternative button brings up All detergent, a comparable product.


You can help animals just by shopping. Purchase products that proudly display the Leaping Bunny logo. Download the Cruelty Cutter app in the App Store or Google Play Store and use it every time you shop.


Hammy was rescued by The Beagle Freedom Project, an organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming animals used in experimental research. He, along with six other beagles, were released from a laboratory in the Washington, D.C. area in July 2013. Click here to watch the DC7 take their first steps on grass, run freely, and meet their foster parents and adopters.

Nowadays, Hammy and Melanie are discovering new parks and places to visit. Click here to read about some of those discoveries, Hammy is also participating in the People Animals Love (PAL) reading-to-dogs program. Sign up for one of PAL’s virtual reading sessions by clicking here. 

For now, Hammy is missing his role as an unofficial Beagle Freedom Project ambassador who visits Washington, D.C. classrooms and camps through HRA’s humane education programHe enjoys all of the Charlie Bear treats he gets during those visits and hopes to be back in the classroom soon.

Nigel by Debra K. Duel

(Added April 29, 2020) 

Four Questions to Answer After Viewing the Video

  1. What kind of dog was Nigel?
  2. How was Nigel mistreated?
  3. Who called the shelter to get help for Nigel?
  4. What did Nigel do in the library?


Debra K. Duel has been working with children and animals in the District of Columbia for more than 30 years. In 1987 she launched the Washington Humane Society’s education program. In 2008 she joined the Washington Animal Rescue League to develop and implement a school-based humane education program emphasizing kindness, compassion, and social action. In 2016 the Washington Humane Society (WHS) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) joined forces to create the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA), the first regional, community-based, multi-state animal welfare organization in the nation. Currently, Debbie oversees HRA’s humane education program. Contact Debbie to learn more about HRA’s school program, summer camps, and special events for students or share your animal stories with her at [email protected].


Nigel was adopted from the Washington Humane Society in December 2004. He visited many schools and libraries and made many friends. Nigel died in August 2016. He is deeply missed by his family, students, teachers, and countless others who were lucky enough to know the best dog in the world!



When my family adopted Nigel, in 2004, we shared our home with four cats. Currently, we are fortunate to live with two cats. Charlotte was adopted in 2010 and Murphy was adopted from HRA in 2016. For the most part, Charlotte and Murphy get along well; they both like helping me work from home.


  • According to the American Kennel Club, Labrador Retrievers have been the most popular dogs in the United States since 1991.
  • Labrador Retrievers, also known as Labs, come in three colors: black, yellow, and chocolate (not brown).
  • Labrador Retrievers' tails are their most distinguishing feature, with a peculiar rounded appearance that has been described as the "otter" tail.
  • Labrador Retrievers have webbed feet and are known to be superior swimmers.
  • The Labrador Retriever does not come from Labrador but from Newfoundland.


Q: What is the Labrador Retriever's best stroke?
A: The doggie paddle!


People Animals Love (PAL) hosts reading to dogs programs at libraries, schools, and other locations in the District of Columbia region.


Introducing Francis and Her Pups

Four Questions to Answer After Viewing the Video

  1. Guinea pigs are pregnant between 59 and ____ days, or right around how many months?
  2. When guinea pig pups are born, they are fully covered in fur and have teeth ready to do what?
  3. What fruit shape did Francis look like when she was pregnant?
  4. What fruit or vegetable shapes do you think Francis' pups looked like shortly after they were born?

More guinea pig information

  • Guinea pigs love treats -- apples and strawberries are good, cucumbers and oranges, too. Be sure to peel the skin and remove the seeds before feeding them.
  • No chocolate, not ever! For that matter, no human treats - no cookies, cake, candy, or ice cream.
  • Where should a guinea pig live and with whom? Most ready-made cages are too small for housing guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are very social and enjoy living with a companion of the same sex. Consider making a guinea pig habitat with plenty of room for the guinea pigs to live comfortably.

Do you have guinea pigs living in cool habitats and want to share a picture? Send pictures to Debbie Duel, Director of Humane Education.

By the way, guinea pigs do not come from Guinea and they are not related to pigs!

Visit this website for even more information on how to care for guinea pigs.


  • What are Francis’ favorite treats?
    • Francis really loves apples, blueberries, and kale. She loves things with vitamin C. Guinea pigs need a good amount of vitamin C!
  • What does Francis like to do?
    • Like a pig – she loves to eat! She also loves to explore the room, and when I hold her, she enjoys having her head, face, and ears gently rubbed. She really dislikes her belly being touched, though.
  • Do you think that Francis is lonely?
    • I think Francis is happy that the babies found good homes, but she does miss having a guinea pig companion. I think she would love having a girl buddy that’s closer to her in age, maybe not full of as much energy as the babies had, but who can snuggle with her.

Find the perfect Companion