The Prevent The Bite public safety education organization helped Ricky Tiesi lose his fear of dogs following a dog attack on his dog Luigi and his mom in 2006.
Recently, the 11-year-old Wauconda boy decided to help spread the word about dog safety by teaching his classmates how to be safe around dogs using a presentation and demonstration of the Prevent The Bite curriculum.
He was mentored by the organization's founders, Kelly and Kathy Voigt, on the program materials. Debra Kinne of Lutheran Church Charities K-9 unit provided a specially trained golden retriever named Ladel to facilitate the presentation. Ladel is a "comfort"' dog that acts as a first-responder to help people in crisis.
Ricky demonstrated safety techniques and called on students from the classroom to show what they learned.
The presentation emphasized the need for responsible dog ownership and taught students about basic canine behavior and body language, as well as safety techniques.
Ricky shared these tips:
• Never play teasing games with any dog, like keep-away or tug-of-war.
• Never hug a dog or put your face near a dog's face.
• Never take anything out of a dog's mouth.
• Never go near a dog that is sleeping, eating, sick, behind a fence, in a car or without an owner.
"I love dogs but you have to be smart around them. I'd like to teach more children the Prevent The Bite program so that they can avoid getting hurt," Ricky said.
Since his presentation at Robert Crown Elementary School, Ricky has been asked to deliver his presentation at a summer camp and elementary school in Wauconda.
The Prevent The Bite safety education curriculum meets the national standards of education. As such, it has been made available to every post office in the U.S. every year since 2004 and all 60,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 20-26, is sponsored in part by Prevent The Bite, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Insurance Information Institute and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The week serves to raise the awareness level about the unique need for public safety education to reduce the number of dog bites that occur every year. That number of bites per year is around 4.5 million according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The presentation at Robert Crown Elementary school occurred ahead of schedule to raise awareness as soon as possible.
Statistically, dog bite incidents go up as the weather turns nice and brings dog and their owners out in the parks and other public areas.