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Kindness, responsible pet ownership stressed in two new animal-related programs
POSTED: 08/28/2012
Hero with Instructor Heddie Leger
The district is offering two new pet-related programs in September, including one for adults and another for youth. Both are being taught by Heddie Leger, Director of Community Programs and Volunteers for Great Plains SPCA.

The classes include the Cool Kids Kindness Club for ages six to nine, and an adult dog obedience class called C.L.A.S.S., which stands for Canine Life and Social Skills, for ages 16 and older as well as younger children when accompanied by an adult.

“I am excited to be offering these brand new activities at the Roeland Park Community Center and hope that individuals in our area see them as a fun opportunity to participate in educational enrichment programming with their own animals or with local shelter dogs,” said Roeland Park 50 Plus Coordinator Libby Scarborough, who is coordinating the program.

In the Cool Kids Kindness Club, young participants will learn why kindness is cool as they discuss topics like animal body language, humane pet education, the importance of being kind with an anti-bullying message, and responsible pet ownership. While the emphasis is on dogs, many of the concepts and topics will apply to other pets as well. The program includes an activity to help a shelter animal and participants will meet a really cool pet and watch a video. There will also be a treat for the humans.

While this program is offered as four single-session classes, because different topics will be discussed at each session, participants are welcome to sign up for any or all of the class offerings. All sessions will take place at 10 a.m. on a Saturday at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood. This first class will take place on Sept. 8, with others following on Oct. 6, Nov. 3, and Dec. 8. The cost for one 90-minute session is $8 for Johnson County residents or $9 for nonresidents. A discount is also offered if two children from the same family sign up, making the program $4 for the second child for Johnson County residents or $5 for the second child for nonresidents.

To register for Cool Kids Kindness Club, go to the Register Here page at and search for program barcodes 11615, 10753, 10754 and 10755.

The C.L.A.S.S. program promotes training focused on positive reinforcement and is meant to help strengthen relationships between humans and their canine companions. The program was developed by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and conducted by an APDT Professional Member and certified instructor to demonstrate to pet owners real-life skills such as waiting at the door, drop it, settle, and more. Treats are allowed as rewards after the completion of an exercise.

This program will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays beginning Sept. 25 at the Roeland Park Community Center. The cost for eight 60-minute lessons is $59 for Johnson County residents or $65 for nonresidents. The first class does not include pets.

To register for C.L.A.S.S. program, go to the Register Here page at and search for program barcode 10751.

It’s also not too early for pet owners to be thinking about a dog-related special event coming up in mid-October. The Big Bad Canine’s Costume Contest and Parade will take place on Oct. 13 at the Shawnee Mission Park Marina Parking Lot. The event is held in conjunction with the Big Bad Pumpkin Derby.

For those who want to spend time with their canine companions without an organized class or program, the district offers off-leash dog areas in four parks. These include: Shawnee Mission Park at 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee and Lenexa; Heritage Park at 16445 Lackman Road in Olathe; Thomas S. Stoll Memorial Park at 12500 W. 119th St. in Overland Park, and Kill Creek Streamway Park at 33460 W. 95th in De Soto.

Off-leash areas have the same hours as the parks where they are located. Stoll Park and Kill Creek Streamway Park are open year-round from dawn to dusk. From now through Oct. 31, Shawnee Mission and Heritage parks will be open from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Then beginning on Nov. 1 and continuing through Feb. 28, Shawnee Mission Park will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Heritage Park will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Between March 15 and Nov. 15, both Shawnee Mission Park and Heritage Park are closed every Tuesday until 9:00 a.m. for routine maintenance work.

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