Last week I told y’all about our trip to New York for the Purina Better With Pets Summit. We sure did have a fun time and learned a lot of new things. My Lady was really taken with one of the talks about the Frank Attla Youth Program and how it has benefited the youth and town of Huslia! She said it showed how life truly is better with pets. Well, duh! We knew that already didn’t we? WOOF! At least I like to think my Lady’s life is better with me cause mine sure is better with her! I’ll let my Lady tell ya ’bout the pawsome happenin’s in the Huslia community!
Here’s what my Lady had to say about the Frank Attla Youth Program highlighted during the Purina Better With Pets Summit
The Purina Better With Pets Summit was an amazing event that brought together animal lovers, animal experts from different areas of expertise, and Purina scientists and leadership! The event took place in New York and was dedicated to discussions and explorations of ideas for bringing people and pets together. What an amazing and much needed concept to talk about!
As promised in my last post about the Better With Pets Summit, one of the discussions that really touched my heart was the Frank Attla Youth Program!
At the Purina Better With Pets Summit, Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, Purina Senior Research Nutritionist, shared a story of how the program had started and what a deep impact it had on the whole community of Huslia in Alaska.
It was a soul-touching story of Frank Attla and the Youth Program named after him in Alaska.
The Frank Attla Youth Program was developed to help at-risk youth in rural Alaska gain confidence and self-esteem.
In the past, the people of the community depended on dogs for transportation. The dogs depended on the humans. It was a mutual respect. As other means of transportation made their way into the small community, the people weren’t as dependent on the dogs. But, the dogs remained a big part of their lives and community.
The Frank Attla Youth program implemented dogs into the school curriculum and gave the students an opportunity to create a unique bond with dogs by teaching them how to care for them. The program and the dogs give the students a sense of accomplishment and help them feel an integral part of the community.
The race dogs are a huge part of the community’s heritage and a huge part of the Huslia Youth Program! The kids learn how to take care of animals at different stages of their lives: from birth to preparing them for races and competitions.
By working together and taking part in the responsibility of the dogs, the kids form emotional bonds to the dogs and feel they are a contributing member of their small knit community. The Huslia Youth Program has helped open communication between the kids and the elders, helping everyone come together as a team in the community.
For those who don’t know, Huslia, Alaska, has only about 300 people. Living under severe weather conditions all-year-round can affect person’s mood and motivation. Having a positive reinforcement in the form of the Community Outreach like Frank Attla Youth Program has made the Huslia community stronger and more tighter woven around their lives there.
The program reinforces real life in a truthful way – through animals. The connection to dogs has connected people in Huslia to each other in a more intimate and collaborative way than ever before. Only this time, it was a connection on a deeper, more soulful level.
There’s a primal relationship between dogs and humans in Huslia, which makes people the best they can be. It makes the dogs the best they can be to their human friends. This story about a dramatic change of life and living of the Huslia residents exemplifies how human lives are so much better with pets!
Nestlé Purina PetCare provides financial and food support to the Frank Attla Youth Program in Alaska. At the Better With Pets Summit, Purina announced that it will donate $50,000 to The Frank Attla Youth Program! Without such support, it would be exceptionally difficult to provide the quality of support the program now does.
Arleigh Reynolds continues to work with the youth of Huslia, with the goal of establishing the Attla Youth Program in schools throughout Alaska’s native villages.
I encourage you to watch this short clip about the Frank Attla Youth Program and how our lives truly Better With Pets!