This week's New Yorker is giving city students a "paws-on" experience in the classroom in the hopes it will pay off for years to come. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
Byron Logan thinks dogs can teach us all some important lessons.
"There is no more resilient animal than a Muttigree or a shelter pet," he says. "They bounce back. They live in the moment. They're never judgmental. They don't get caught up."
That's why Logan brings rescue dogs to classrooms across the city.
The Bronx native is the outreach director for The Muttigrees Curriculum.
"It's fun to play with the dogs, because it really gets you calm," says student Tjende Djibo.
"It was just, like, something that made them happy and made us happy," says student Julianne Leazard.
Logan leads the free program, which looks to build character through the love most kids have for animals. Lessons focus on how to give compliments, get active and be a role model, the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school and in life.
"We're talking about them being able to manage their emotions, to put themselves in other people's shoes," Logan says. "And at the same time, we want them to be able to develop their leadership skills, but a big part of being a leader is the ability to bounce back from adversity and challenges."
With financial backing from from the North Shore Animal League and Yale University, Logan's presence is making a difference.
Since 2008, the Muttigrees Curriculum has visited about 150 New York City public schools.
"And they always get excited when he visits, and with the dogs, they always have so many questions," says Joey Croccito, a teacher at P.S. 205 in the Bronx. "But they're definitely learning to be kinder. And it's not just kindness toward animals, but to extend it on to everyone, the earth, people in the school, their family members, etc. So it doesn't just end in the classroom towards animals."
"Byron is the most loving dog person I've ever known," says student Bryan Gonzalez.
"I might want to be him when I grow up," says student Daniel Anacta. "Like, it could be my first or second choice."
So, for lending a helpful paw to instill responsibility and compassion in students, Byron Logan is the latest New Yorker of the Week.
For more information about The Muttigrees Curriculum, visit muttigrees.org.