PEP! tours the country teaching kids the keys to responsible pet ownership

By Kelli Bender
Updated August 12, 2016 02:02 PM
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Credit: Courtesy PEP!

Over 7,000 animals are euthanized, on average, each day in the United States. It’s a hard fact to confront, but the sad truth. Irresponsible pet ownership is substantial part of the problem. As long as people continue to view pets as disposable and allow animals to breed irresponsibly, the consequences are grim for shelter pets.

For one organization, they are making it their sole mission to lower those statistics by educating kids to be responsible pet owners. PEP! The Pet Education Project (a 501©3 non-profit organization) is turning kids into animal heroes by giving them the tools they need to raise a happy and healthy pet. Through education, they are putting an end to the cycle of pet overpopulation, abuse, neglect, and euthanasia.

Having already reached over 100,000 kids in their home base of Shreveport, Louisiana; PEP! Embarked on a cross-country tour performing their exciting PEP! for children in Colorado, California, North Dakota, and Michigan — enriching kids of all demographics through their message.

Credit: Courtesy PEP!

Their approach is simple, educate through entertainment. Their leader and Founder, Erica Callais Falbaum, dons an animal super hero costume and brings an arsenal of visuals to captivate kids. Music, costumes, prizes, and their original “PEPpets” are what makes the program unlike any other. Through their fun and friendly programs, they are enabling kids to make a generational change on how animals are perceived and cared for.

The PEP! Squad partnered with The Michigan Humane Society to bring their lessons on pet care to kids in Detroit. Among their stops was the S.A.Y. Detroit Play Center. Opened by renown Author, Mitch Albom, this center is geared to give kids an outlet during the summer months and after school.

Credit: Courtesy PEP!

“The Michigan Humane Society was excited to host the PEP Rally presentations, and share their impactful, highly-engaging presentations with area children,” said Matthew Pepper, MHS president and CEO. “This was an incredible collaboration between two organizations that, at their core, seek to instill compassion and empathy into our future leaders and pet owners.”

PEP! has made its case on why it’s important for kids to understand the full spectrum of pet care. They feel it’s crucial to not shy away from more difficult topics such as spaying and neutering, heartworms, animal shelters, and sometimes euthanasia. Unfortunately, many people don’t consider the time, money, and energy that goes into caring for a pet, which often leads owners to surrender their new pet. PEP! tells kids that one of the best ways to save a pet’s life is to keep your pets for life. By covering those topics at an early age, they are enabling the next generation to put an end to the cycles that are at fault for the millions of animals being euthanized each year.

Credit: Courtesy PEP!

With PEP! planting its roots all across the nation, there is hope for the future of pets. The goal is to get their message in front of every kid in every city. In the meantime, they have successfully launched their new children’s book “PEP! Squad, The 5 Steps to a Happy and Healthy Pet” available now on Amazon along with their free Happy Tails Magazine for kids.

One thing PEP! makes clear is that all kids have the power to make a change. It just takes someone to believe in them.

To learn more about how PEP! The Pet Education Project is turning kids into animal heroes, start a PEP! Chapter, nominate a kid for their PEP! Star Award, or to sign your kids up for their PEP! Squad visit www.ilovepep.org. You can also follow them on Instagram @peteducationproject.