Two dogs in specialized training, a talk by a member of the Seminole Tribal Council of Florida, and a state park historian displaying an array of authentic Indian clothing.
It was a busy morning Oct. 8 for 4th and 5th Grade students at Tommie Barfield Elementary as they enriched their science and social studies curricula in a series of entertaining and informative sessions.
First up was the dog training demonstration, presented by Marcia Huff and trainers Jeannie Bates and Tiffany Campbell of the Southwest Florida Professional Dog Training Alliance.
On hand were golden retrievers Cody Bear and Jazzy, who will eventually serve a disabled Iraq or Afghanistan veteran and an autistic child respectively.
Huff referred to the scientific process of selecting and training suitable dogs for service, and said there’s a parallel that can be applied to young people — such as the students present — as well.
This includes manners, tolerance grooming and friendliness.
Bates said Cody Bear will eventually be assigned to a young disabled veteran.
“We’re working with Tampa Veterans Administration Hospital through their rehab program,” she said, “so Cody will likely go to a young veteran returning from the current conflict.”
Jazzy will help an autistic child live more normally.
Bates said while it’s emotional parting with a dog she’s trained, there is comfort because trainers get to see “their” animals a few times a year after that for the lifetimes of the dogs.
Local breeders generally donate the dogs, and there’s no cost to recipients, she said.
The two historical representatives, Seminole Tribal Council of Florida member Willie Johns and Christopher Kimball of Collier-Seminole State Park held the attention of 4th and 5th Grade students after the dog demonstration.
Johns chatted about Native American patch working and history/culture, while Kimball brought in a selection of Indian clothing collected down the years.
Kimball said Indian clothing is spread throughout museums around the world, and he spoke about clothes becoming more fancy as sewing techniques improved.
“Their art is expressed in what they wore, just like when you go home today and change into a T-shirt and shorts ... your clothes show what your character is like,” Kimball told the students.