For the Love of Animals

Written by GAC Volunteer Writer Lisa Browning

It is a well known fact that acknowledging and affirming a child’s experiences, feelings and achievements promotes a sense of self-efficacy and boosts their self-esteem. It is also well known that animals, through their unconditional love and support and by their very nature, also boost self-esteem.

Image courtesy of Lisa Browning

A joint project of Saplings, the children’s book publishing branch of my company, One Thousand Trees, and The Benjamin Project, a non-profit initiative educating children on responsible pet ownership and animal stewardship, and raising funds for shelters, sanctuaries and rescue, has provided a unique opportunity for elementary school children to experience these facts first-hand.

As part of the “For the Love of Animals” project, participating elementary schools are partnered with a local humane society, shelter, or charitable organization. Students are asked to write a story about their pet and/or favourite animal, and draw a picture to accompany their story. Books are then published, and made available for purchase, with all net proceeds going to the partnering organization. 

A “launch event” is held at each participating school and, where possible, a representative from the organization to which funds are being donated is also present. Such an event for the Guelph project took place on June 18, and the look of pride on each student’s face, especially when they were called to the front to receive a copy of the published book, was undeniable.

Image Courtesy of Lisa Browning

I gladly take no money for my work on this project. It is strictly a labour of love.  Animals, children, and books are three of my passions, and this project has allowed me to combine all three. It has also provided me with the opportunity to spend time with children, which warms my soul. Children have a remarkable way of being in the world … open and eager, and ready for new experiences. I try to emulate this mentality as often as I can. And as I continue to focus on my passions, each day becomes filled with the little miracles that make life worth living.

For more information on this project, visit or

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