So far the work of the students has been fruitful. After posting letters outside each canal, only four dogs remain: Pebble, Yosemite, Cote, and I will tumble for the year.
“It was a wonderful marketing tool to help people find those pets and fall in love with stories written by kids and then take those pets home with them,” Peters told NPR.
While Peters was compiling dogs for inclusion on the list, he stuck with those who had difficulty adopting, such as health or behavioral challenges.
Normally, people would walk past these creatures without seeing them a second time, but the characters and the combined images encouraged people to slow down, Peters said.
The Sunday Special, a tan and white pit bull (which was aptly picked up on Sunday), a second-grader found her home even after writing a letter to her. He doesn’t always look good, Peters said, and people get too scared.
But one student wrote a compulsive letter in his voice.
“Hello, my name is Sunday Special,” the letter began. “I would love to be adopted. If you adopt me, I hope I will make your Sundays as bright as the sun! You will be my Sunday special and I hope I will be yours!”
The puppy was able to find a home, and Peters made sure the letter was a factor.
“His short story, I’m telling you, because he’s adopted,” Peters said.
Students have been enthusiastic throughout the process, Jones told NPR. It probably helped that Peter Snow, a white pit bull, came to meet the students. Peters said the kids were “very excited and happy and jumping out of their skin” when they met the well-behaved man.
Although the writing took place in early February, students still ask about the animals they wrote about.
“Am I still adopting Tumble for Yak?” Jones recalls that a student asked before the day’s lesson began.
Jones says he has seen his students develop an interest in writing outside of the project.
“They’re excited to use their writing, to persuade, to inform, to do some research,” Jones said.
Jones, who works as a volunteer at the shelter, said he hopes students will learn that “they can do anything,” even when they are only 7 or 8 years old. He hopes other teachers will also partner with their local shelter.
“The effect is not just for the kids, but for the dogs that have been waiting for them home forever,” Jones said.