The bridge to creating a positive and inclusive animal foster community.

Canines in the Classroom


CANINES IN THE CLASSROOM: Bringing rescue dogs into schools, in order to promote positive values within each child, and encourage a love for animal rescue. Connecting with existing curricula, or a stand-alone unit. Public or Private Schools, Pre-K through 5 (and older upon request) welcome. A program developed and run by Foster Dogs, Inc.

Canines in the Classroom

Moby from Susie’s Senior Dogs in a Kindergarten class

Foster Dogs Inc has an incredible program, in which we bring a child-friendly adopted dog into your classroom, teaching about safety, respect, empathy, patience, and responsibility. Through this effort, we aim to educate the children of New York City about these crucial values, while encouraging dog rescue. We are a fully insured 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Learn more about our organization.

Lucy & Diesel with Kindergarteners in the Lower East Side

“As a middle school teacher, I find it very important to teach empathy and compassion to our students. I found that implementing an animal rescue project was a great way to model these values, as well as encourage dog rescue. With the help of Sarah and Canines in the Classroom from Foster Dogs, our animal rescue project came to life! Students were able to interact directly with rescue dog, Ellie, and her wonderful adopter Taylor to learn about the process of animal rescue and the importance of second chances. I loved watching the children form a deeper connection with canines and animal rescue in a safe and engaging environment. It made a lasting impact for every student in the room.” – Alexa Kaplan, 7th Grade Teacher, Quest to Learn, Manhattan NY.

Ellie with 7th Graders at Quest to Learn

Canines Classroom School Education Zeppelin

Zeppelin visits a Pre-K class in Brooklyn

As an organization with an educational and charitable mission, we are passionate about educating young people about the joys of dog adoption and how to treat dogs with respect and care for them properly. Representing our organization in the past, our director has visited a Manhattan charter school to discuss dog rescue with animal-loving middle schoolers, and went to a public school in Queens to teach an after-school girls’ club about fostering dogs and contributing to society with Unleashed NY!

Buddy at PS 183

“Foster Dogs visited the Pre-K classes at my school last week with adorable therapy dogs, Buddy and Diesel. What a great experience for my students to learn about what it means to foster and adopt animals! Foster Dogs also taught students about ‘dog body language.’ It was pure joy for the kids having these dogs, owners – and coordinator, Sarah visit our school!  Thanks so much for a great morning!” – Kindergarten Teacher Kathy S, PS 183 in Manhattan

How Does the Program Work?

canines in the classroom

Ellie goes to preschool

Founder Sarah Brasky will lead a 45-60 minute lesson with your class. She involves the children in a highly engaging story, leads a participatory discussion about dog fostering and adoption, and introduces the visiting dog and the dog’s handler.



The children are able to “interview” the dog, and ask questions of the handler as well. Every child is offered the opportunity to pet the dog!


Canines Classroom Sarah Brasky

Time permitting, Sarah includes an art project and/or creative writing project (depending on the age group). Sarah has a master’s degree in Elementary Education and worked as a teacher in New York City schools. Foster Dogs will provide the classroom teachers in advance with a permission slip, as well as tips for the teachers to prepare their students for this special visit.

Says Pre-K teacher Sonya Hinich about her students’ Foster Dogs visit:

We loved having Sarah and [certified therapy dog] Zeppelin in our classroom! This is a wonderful program that helps children explore and deepen their empathy levels. I loved to see how children can deepen their connection with canniness in a safe environment. Looking forward to invite Sarah into our classroom again next year!

Canines Classroom School Education

Says one happy teacher in a private preschool in Queens, “Thank you for bringing Ellie to our class! We had so much fun learning about dogs and petting Ellie. And we really enjoyed working on the art project. We would love for you to visit us again!”

Canines in the Classroom

Ellie Canines ClassroomAll adult dogs in our program are Canine Good Citizen or Therapy Dog certified. Puppies and adult dogs in our program have all been tested in a child-centric setting. “Canines in the Classroom” with Foster Dogs Inc is a hands-on experience, including arts and crafts, writing, discussion, and inquiry.

This program is also offered to children’s programs at hospitals, for therapy purposes.

“Having therapy dogs come visit is a fantastic, positive outlet for our patients. Hospitalization can be stressful, painful, and scary for children. Giving kids an opportunity to engage in new positive experiences like interacting with a therapy animal makes the hospital a friendlier, happier place for kids.” – Nora Dankner, on Foster Dogs’ visit with Chloe the senior Lab mix to Maimonides Medical Center, Brooklyn NY

Ellie (center) and Bette Davis (right), with their moms, visiting DREAM Charter School.

Why bring dogs into schools?

Here are a few reasons shared by The New York Times, just to name a few: “Maisy has a standing appointment with a boy with special needs every eighth period. A beagle named Izzy is sent in to de-escalate tantrums. Jumah is offered as an incentive to encourage good behavior. And Peter Parker, a golden retriever-Border collie mix, lends an ear, without judgment, to students receiving speech therapy.”

“When I see him, it makes me feel calm,” said Alyona Podchosova, a student who spends time with Petey. “Sometimes my temper just gets in the way, and Petey helps me with that.”

Tech Insider says of programs developed for the purpose of reading development, “Kids can work through tricky vowel sounds without feeling like they’re pressured to hurry up. And instead of disapproving looks, they’re met with the eager face of a polite and furry listener.” One Detroit teacher says of her school’s therapy dog, “It’s made a difference for every single kid in the room […]. He’s taught everybody, including myself, how important it is to have an animal in your life” (USA Today). The Humane Society provides ample research on how animals are powerful tool in teaching empathy to children. The values in our “Canines in the Classroom” visit are beneficial for children at any age.

Ellie Canines in the Classroom

Welcoming a rescued canine into your classroom for a visit:

This program was developed for children in preschool through 5th Grade, for class sizes 5 – 30. Foster Dogs’ “Canines in the Classroom” program is free of charge for one classroom visit per school, thanks to corporate donations, including contributions from BarkBox, Swiffer, and Petco. We ask for a donation fee for additional reservations. We are available for summer camp, preschool, elementary school, after-school programs, hospitals, and more.

Note: Fall 2017: We are not booking future classroom visits at this time, to continue focusing on saving more dogs in NYC and beyond. Questions? Email: info [at] with the subject line: “Canines in the Classroom”

Canines Classroom School Education

Images copyright Foster Dogs Inc, with the permission of participating families and schools. Images may not be shared elsewhere without the express permission of Foster Dogs, Inc.
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