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Elementary students learn importance of community involvement

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Jackie Ross-Guerrero always knew she wanted to work with animals.

For some time, she planned to be a veterinarian, but after discovering it wasn’t for her, she had to find a new career plan.

No matter what it was — she knew she wanted to help animals.

That’s what led her to the Humane Society of Stillwater in Oklahoma, where she has worked for the past 11 years.

“There are so many other animal jobs you can do,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to do something with animals, but I just wasn’t going to make it as a veterinarian. Now I rescue animals.”

Ross-Guerrero and her husband Gilbert spoke to third-grade students at Adams Elementary School Sept. 24.

During her talk, Ross-Guerrero introduced Jack, a dog that her sister Kimberly Shields, an instructional coach at Fairview and Adams elementary schools, adopted from the Stillwater shelter. Although Jack once was a stray dog, he now is a wonderful pet, Ross-Guerrero told third-graders.

While Ross-Guerrero spoke with the students about the importance of rescuing animals and supporting local shelters, Jack performed tricks and entertained the audience.

Sara Hamilton, a third-grade teacher at Adams Elementary School, said Ross-Guerrero was in Carroll visiting family, and the school thought it would be a great opportunity for her to come in and talk with students about how to get involved in the community and the positive impact it can have.

“We want to inspire our students to become active members of the community any way they can,” she said. “Examples (are) volunteering, helping neighbors, keeping the environment clean, et cetera. The students were very excited to check out the Stillwater and the Animal Rescue of Carroll websites.”

Being a veterinarian isn’t the only way to work with animals and give back, Ross-Guerrero said. There are many fulfilling ways to do both.

“There are so many other things you can do, whether it’s being a groomer, whether it’s being a dog walker, whether it’s helping out at the animal shelter,” she said.

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