Tribune-Courier features editor
The Humane Society of Marshall County has recently added a new member to their staff, a mascot named Cotton. Cotton is a one-year old Great Pyrenees who was born deaf.
Kristi Osmon, director of the Humane Society, adopted Cotton when he was seven weeks-old, not knowing he was deaf.
“I figured it out because my little boy knocked a crate over while Cotton was sleeping and he just continued to sleep,” Osmon said.
After numerous trips to the vet and and many hours spent researching, it was clear that raising this puppy was going to be very different than what was originally expected.
Cotton was lucky enough to be entered into the S.A.F.E program at the Western Kentucky Correctional Center. S.A.F.E. stands for Saving Animals From Euthanasia. During his time with the program Cotton was taught basic skills, as well as some more complex tricks. The program’s goal is to help train dogs in shelters in hopes that people will then adopt those animals. Cotton graduated on January 13.
During Cotton’s time in the program Osmon and her team at the Humane Society came up with a program of their own called “Cotton goes to School”. As part of the program, The Humane Society will travel with Cotton to different schools and classrooms with the goal to help educate children about the overall importance of taking care of animals. The main points in the presentation that will be stressed will include compassion toward animals, importance of spaying and neutering, the right way to approach an animal and information about animals with disabilities.
“We really just want to teach the kids to love and take care of the animals,” Osmon said, “That way in the future they will know if they really want a pet and we won’t have as many go to shelters.”
“I think it is very beneficial for children to grow up with animals with disabilities,” Osmon continued. “It teaches them patience, and can also show people with disabilities to not give up. Cotton has a disability but worked through a program, graduated and got his diploma.”
Marshall County has approximately 75 animals up for adoption. By teaching children early how to care for a pet and the main responsibilities of being a pet owner, Osmon hopes she can help alleviate the number of animals that are in need of a home.