How Sprite's HERO came to be:
The DOG – Sprite - waiting in a crate - small, disheveled, unspayed, untrained – with a joie de vivre and an overflowing love for humans of every kind.
The BOOK – in a stack at a used book fair - "Therapy Dogs" – how to train them and what they bring to people’s lives.
The BOND - In 1999, fate brought me to share the book with the little white dog. For 13 years we brought canine therapy, humane education and doggy kisses to hundreds of lives until Sprite passed away in 2012. Her compassion lives on in her canine and human friends who continue to share the wonderful human-animal bond throughout our community.
Since its founding in 2006, Sprite's HERO has continued to provide humane education programs to Richmond area children through its flagship program, Paws to READ, and to conduct research on the positive effects of this mysterious, powerful bond we share with dogs.
-Chris Miller, Founder
Connecting kids & dogs to unleash their potential!
Our Guiding Principles
- Animals and humans can make a change together;
- The human/animal bond has a power that is transformative;
- People benefit from having positive interactions with animals;
- Research makes programs more effective;
- In building connections and the power of individuals to contribute to our community; and
- In motivating and empowering children.
What Is Humane Education?
Humane education examines the challenges facing our planet and explores how we all might live with compassion, empathy and respect for everyone, including animals. Sprite’s HERO incorporates humane education into our programs through the power of the human-animal bond and our relationships with dogs. We may not comprehend why dogs bond with people, but the wonderful effects of this bond are known to all who have experienced it. Our programs share this bond with children throughout greater Richmond to enable them to build confidence, increase self-esteem, and experience nonjudgmental compassion.
“I would make education a pleasant thing both to the teacher and the scholar. This discipline, which we allow to be the end of life, should not be one thing in the schoolroom, and another in the street. We should seek to be fellow students with the pupil, and we should learn of, as well as with him, if we would be most helpful to him.”
— Henry David Thoreau