Empathy in children is our window to a kinder future.

One of the most important takeaways from this project is the effect it has on our children, their families, and the lives of the adoptable dogs they have portrayed through their art. When educators take programs such as this to their own student artists, they help expand that positive impact through their own communities. The hope is that the newfound knowledge of empathy is carried forward through the next generation.

"This #Pawject is awakening hearts, spreading awareness about adoptable dogs, teaching art, and enabling empathy in those who will be running the world as we age." – Rachael Rodgers (trailsandbears)

“The goal of this project is to get as many dogs as possible adopted and out of shelters. All dogs deserve to have a home. My favourite part was seeing the volunteers and how much they care for the dogs, especially when they know if the dogs are adopted, they won’t get to see them ever again.” – Empathy Pawject Artist, Age 10


“Empathy means caring about others and putting yourself in their shoes!” – Empathy Pawject Artist, age 9


The Empathy Pawject was a unique way to teach our kids quite a few things. In [my son's] case, he was deeply connected to the story of his dog, Vic. It brought out a lot of emotions in him: empathy, sadness, and hope, to name a few. He showed such concern for the dog’s future to the point of asking us if we knew anyone that lived close to Vic’s shelter that perhaps would want to have him as a member of their family. It was a powerful experience for our young children to be able to connect art with emotion, and inversely, to use art as a way to address emotions. He felt committed to helping Vic get adopted through his art and our social media networks.  Being so passionate about the project, and so committed to helping his dog find its fur-ever home, inspired him to give it his best effort. So much so, that he said to us, ‘I didn’t even know I could paint that well!’ – Student Parent

"I think the Empathy Pawject is a wonderful project for the children because it teaches the children about how there are homeless dogs who need our assistance and allows them to use their creativity to help them find forever homes. It gives the children a sense of there being a bigger world out there and that they can help make a difference." – Student's parent

The grade four empathy dog project made me feel how sad it might be for those precious dogs who deserve a real home with a loving family. When I found out about my dog Winston, I started to read about him. Every sentence I read made me feel much more connected to this loving, energetic, furry animal. When I found out that Winston got a “furerver” home, I was so happy and delighted. There is no better feeling than knowing that a dog from the Humane Shelter got a home. My favourite part about the empathy project was learning about all of the fluffy friends. I loved going down to the exhibit at the downtown Calgary Library because inside, a lot of dog paintings from the Humane shelter that the grade fours painted were hung up. Knowing that more people will know about the dogs now made me get hope, because I figured the more people who know about the dogs will spread around the world and more dogs will get a nice home, like they all deserve to. Last year, in fourth grade, in my letter to Santa Claus I wrote that I would like all the dogs in shelters to get a beautiful home with caring families. During the project I felt myself getting more and more connected with Winston. Now I know that there is no bond stronger than a kid and a dog. I feel as if everyone should know about this empathy project and realize how important dogs are to us. – Empathy Pawject Artist, age 11

"Seeing my daughter take part in the Empathy Project in grade four was quite a profound experience.  Not often do school assignments and projects resonate with a child, but this project was different.  My daughter often talked about “her” dog, Winston.  She also knew the names of her classmates’ dogs!  She would speak of Winston as if she knew him personally and would express her sadness that these dogs were searching for their “furever” home.  The most profound moment for me was when my daughter gave me her letter to mail to Santa Claus.  Of course I read it, and in her letter, she asked Santa to help these dogs find a family to love them.  It was in that moment that I realized that the Empathy project had drawn on my daughter’s ability to empathize and look beyond herself.  This was definitely a heartfelt project." – Student’s parent


"I learned about how some dogs don't have homes and it made it feel sad to know that some dogs don't have a family. I liked that my painting would help bring attention to Spartan and get him a home because all creatures deserve love." Empathy Pawject Artist, age 10

"I liked that the Empathy Pawject used rescue dogs and their particular circumstances to teach the kids empathy, and sympathy in a way that was digestible for 9 year olds and that helped expand their understanding of sadness and unfairness." – Student’s Parent

"The Empathy Pawject was cool! I liked learning about all the different dogs and it was so exciting when we learned if one found a home."  - Empathy Pawject Artist, Age 9

“Every dog deserves a forever home” – Empathy Pawject Artist, age 10

“It is no secret at our school that Mrs. Carruthers-Green is passionate about her students – and dogs! Not only did the Empathy Pawject impact my daughter’s growth in art, but also her growth in character development.  Watching the project unfold was fascinating – for months I heard about the empathy stories that were read, the role-playing, the day she met her dog and the hours it took to paint him.  We attended the gallery at the brand new Calgary Library where the children displayed their artwork with pride, and of course I remember the excitement about the day her dog was adopted.  This was so much more than a project – Mrs. Carruthers -Green fostered a community with a common passion and purpose – my daughter will remember this forever.” – Student’s Parent


"Taking part in the first ever Empathy Pawject was such a highlight of my grade 4 year. I remember how enthusiastic Ms. Carruthers Green was about helping out all of the adoptable dogs.   Meeting my dog "Riley" was a very special time for me, and I loved getting to know his characteristics and learning how to include them in my painting.  Ms. Carruthers Green helped me grow as an artist and also as a person."   - Empathy Pawject Artist , Age 11

I am such a huge supporter of the project - not only because the adoption process is very near and dear to our hearts personally, but what an amazing way to actually have students learn about empathy. Following along the Instagram account, I'm always amazed at how much thought and detail goes into each and every portrait. – Student’s parent


"I felt happy for Mama D and hoped that she went to a wonderful forever home. I thought the 'empathy pawject' was very meaningful because we got to learn about empathy and then we were able express it through our art. Also, I thought it was a fantastic way to bring awareness about the importance of rescuing a shelter dog" –Empathy Pawject artist, age 11