It’s an ongoing responsibility for us to teach our kids about the environment so, when my son got the opportunity to interview an environmentalist from Lucky Dog, he was pretty excited. Plus, we love animals and we have a rescue dog of our own, Noreen.
Found at just four weeks old, our little princess Noreen the Queen the Cuddle Machine was no bigger than a softball when she was abandoned in a deli parking lot (Noreen’s Deli hence, the name). She was saved that day by a relative and nursed back to health. We took her once she was healthy enough and boy did she thrive! Three years later, she’s the light of our day-to-day lives.
Lucky Dog is an Emmy Award-winning show that airs as part of ‘CBS Dream Team, It’s Epic!’ on Saturday mornings. A real-life rescue dog and superhero, Lucky (a.k.a. TurfMutt) and his owner Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), appears periodically on the show. The show follows animal trainer Brandon McMillan who rescues hard-to-love, untrained and seemingly unadoptable dogs. McMillan turns these pooches into perfect pets, and in the episodes that Kiser appears, Kiser helps ensure the adopted pet family’s yard is perfect for a pet.
Lucky (a.k.a. TurfMutt) has also become the inspiration behind the TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship program designed for children in grades K-5. Lucky “paws it forward” by helping educators, kids and their families learn valuable science lessons right in their backyards about how to be good environmental stewards by taking care of their living landscapes.
After seeing the show, my son (AKA YouTube’s KidFriendly) took an interest in interviewing Kris Kiser to talk to him about kids and the environment. Here’s what Kris had to say:
Interview with Kris Kiser for Lucky Dog
KidFriendly: What can kids do to help protect the environment even when they’re little?
KK: The first thing to know is where you live and what plants and trees are right for your region. Do you live near a desert? Or near the ocean? Or in a place that rains a lot? These types of climates need different kinds of lawns and landscapes. You can help your parents make the right choices for what to plant in your yard and maybe even in your school yard.
Follow real-life rescue dog Lucky (a.k.a. superhero TurfMutt) on his adventures. TurfMutt can show you how to become a backyard superhero just like him.
My best friend, Lucky, is the real-life dog behind TurfMutt. In fact, every dog – your dog! — can be a superhero for his family. Remember, Superman was Clark Kent. Spider-Man was Peter Parker. TurfMutt is Lucky.
You can do the fun stuff with TurfMutt online or head outside and tackle TurfMutt’s outdoor challenges. Your parents should be happy about TurfMutt , too, as valuable science lessons are taught – and you can do them right in your backyard or school yard.
You can find interactive games and a digital storybook on www.TurfMutt.com. (Note to parents and teachers: The program’s materials are free and aligned to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) standards.)
KidFriendly: How can kids teach other kids to care about the planet?
KK: Talk to you friends, share TurfMutt and the lessons you learn. You also can ‘lead by example’ by planting the right plants in your yard and by getting outside and enjoying nature.
Also, be sure to plant some special plants for our bird, bee and butterfly friends, like milkweed and other flowering plants and trees. Then you can show your friends, when the birds and butterflies come, that you helped bring them to your home.
Another important thing is to make sure your parents put in smart water tools, like smart irrigation systems. Don’t water too much!
KidFriendly: How can I make sure I’m being environmentally friendly when walking my rescue dog?
KK: When you’re walking your best friend, make sure no trash is left behind. Pick up after yourself and your dog.
Remember to take care of other people’s property, too. Sometimes we shouldn’t walk on out neighbor’s lawn. Also, not all plants are created equal. Some are tougher than others. For instance, don’t let your dog walk into flower beds. But grass is a great place to walk your dog. Grass is tough stuff. But remember only walk your dog where he’s allowed to go.
KidFriendly: What was it like to be in a TV episode?
KK: It was really exciting and a little scary. I thought it was a lot of fun to be around the rescue dogs. I worked with families to help their yards become more environmentally-friendly for them and their new furry friend. And I got to be there when the rescue dog was united with his forever family and got to see his new outdoor room (his yard!).
Being involved in the second season of the Emmy-award winning, Lucky Dog television show allows me to share TurfMutt messages on how to create the best green spaces for families and their pets. TurfMutt’s message is so important!
KidFriendly: If I want to grow up to do your job, what would I have to do?
KK: First, stay in school. The first day in school find out what you love to do and follow that path.
For me, I’ve always loved and had dogs. They’ve been my best friends. That love has stayed with me and I’ve been able to help dogs in my jobs.
It’s not just the job you have but what you believe and the passion you have for the work you do. So, if you’re like me and love our four-legged friends, you can volunteer at animal shelters. You can rescue a dog. You can encourage your friends to adopt a rescue dog. You can work with families to help them create the right kind of outdoor space to give a dog a forever home. Dogs, just like us, come in every color, size and personality. So, the yard might have to change to suit the family’s new dog.
You also can be a teacher at any age. You can teach your parents what you learned in school. Help our parents learn what is best for the dog and the region where we live. Remember, the country is a big place with lots of climate zones. That’s something we can teach our parents about. What is a climate zone? There are areas that are dry and areas that are wet. So you can help your folks learn what is best for your family and your dog, depending on where you live.
It was really cool hearing what Kris Kiser had to say about kids and the environment. We love the show Lucky Dog, especially since it hits right at home with us. You can watch Lucky Dog on CBS Dream Team Saturday mornings. Check listings here for exact times.