Inner City Kids and Dogs, Super Smiley and Kindness

Super Smiley, blog dog, here to tell you about my seven-week experience working with inner city kids during my Kindness with Super Smiley® project. What I know is when I go into a new situation to share Kindness, I smile and look them in the eye and people come over and pet me and the work begins. Some kids were afraid of me at first, but, by the end of the very first day, we had crossed that barrier, and they were bringing me water, hugging me and learning my song and dance. By the next session, they were learning deeper lessons from me, and by the end of our seven weeks together, we were all deeply bonded. Together, we went out into the world, to the inner city of Los Angeles with The Super Smiley Flash Mob 4 Kindness, manned with the cutest flash mob dancers in the whole world, little 6, 7 and 8 year olds dancing and shouting it out for Kindness. Mission Accomplished!

Hey, it’s Megan here now sharing my experience, but first, great job, Super Smiley!

Super Smiley and I took the Kindness with Super Smiley® Project into the inner city of Los Angeles for a seven-week program where we worked with kids for one afternoon once a week.  It was an experience where, once again, Smiley led me. Like he has done so often, Smiley opened windows so the kids could see into his heart, but for me, it was I who received the greatest gift — when I was given a glimpse into their hearts.

When Super Smiley and I first entered the gymnasium, I was greeted with smiling, joyous and beautiful children with many running right up to say hi and to look closely into my eyes. Beautiful, innocent openness. But then questions from these open innocent hearts looking deep into my eyes:

  • “Does Smiley bite people?”
  • “Does Smiley fight dogs?” and more…

And, I wondered if we were where we should be. Was this too big? It suddenly seemed to me that here, small dogs were pets, but big dogs meant something different. I wasn’t prepared for this and had to regroup, but Smiley was unaffected. He smiled and drew them closer with that intangible thing he has.

kids 1By the end of that session all the kids touched, hugged and loved on Smiley. He had opened them to a new dynamic. They had shown me a glimpse into theirs and what I saw was so beautiful and amazing.

The kids ranged in age from about 6 to 10 and came to the Boys and Girls Club for a safe and wholesome after school respite. The kids quickly related the idea of being kind to the animals as being kind to other people. And they then took this idea even further to taking care of the environment. Their ability to extrapolate and connect the information was amazing.

At one point Super Smiley was lying on the floor surrounded by a circle of kids. They all began rushing in to pet Smiley in a frenzied crowd. When I reminded them that we need to come in to pet him one person at a time and be gentle, I asked them to look at Smiley lying there flat on his side, and one little boy all on his own said, “Smiley’s teaching us to be relaxed and calm and patient.”

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has started its Pets for Life Program with the goal of “extending the reach of animal services, resources and information to under-served areas.” HSUS found that in underserved areas, only about 15 percent of pets are spayed or neutered, but when Pets for Life brings the information and services to the people there, they are able to spay or neuter around 70 percent of the unaltered pets.

HSUS found that the residents love their pets and want to do the best for them, and when the resources are there, they use them. The inner city kids I worked with love their pets and even though they may have initially met Super Smiley while having one perspective, they had an amazing capacity to quickly reevaluate and learn new acceptance and a new way to view their world. And I witnessed their amazing capacity to embody kindness and to become little lights shining brightly for animals and their pets.

You may see their work in our four-minute film short, Kindness – A Super Smiley Dogumentary. It’s fitting that, based on his work and inspiration, Smiley is the film’s narrator. It was a surprise and honor that Smiley won The Ambassador of Kindness Award at The Animal Film Festival this year!

If you are ever working with fearful children and a safe dog, you may want to have the kids brush the dog. This allows for calm bonding and allows the child to touch the dog while they are focusing on the act of brushing.

Until Next Time,
Woof and Super Smiles from,
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

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