Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Be a Tree is Great for Business

Reprinted with permission from the SVMA News, May 2008 issue

By Dr. Bob Bellamy (former president, Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association)

For the past several years the veterinarians and veterinary technologists in our practice have been offering dog bite prevention (DBP) presentations to public schools, play ground groups, day cares, dog clubs, dog obedience classes, humane society meetings etc. The ultimate goal has been to prevent dog bites through public education. Presenters utilize a "teacher kit" from Doggone Safe - a visual, informative, interactive and entertaining presentation that requires a minimal amount of preparation and can be delivered effortlessly.

Dog bite prevention seminars have had an unexpected side effect. Without a doubt, DBP presentations have yielded more new clients than any initiative attempted by our office! In the the past two years new clients have increased by 30%!!!

Dog Bites are a serious public health risk. The incidence of  dog bites is not tracked in Canada, but American data suggest that last year in the United States:
  • 5 million people were bitten by dogs
  • 800,000 of them were severe enough to require medical attention
  • on average there are 12 fatal dog attacks per year, most involving children
Children are most at risk for dog bite:
  • 60% of bite victims are children under 10 years old
  • 50% of children will be bitten before they are 12 years of age
Published statistics indicate that dog bites represent the second most common injury to children under 10 years of age (sports injuries being number 1). Seventy percent of biting dogs are the family pet or belong to friends of the family.

Most experts agree that the majority of bites are preventable through public education. Veterinarians are in a key position to deliver this message and we feel our efforts have made a difference. "Doing the right thing has not only been good public relations, it has been highly profitable."

More About the Be a Tree Teacher Kit

The Be a Tree Teacher Kit is for...
  • schools/teachers who want to deliver a bite prevention program themselves
  • humane educators for in-house or community outreach use
  • obedience trainers who want to educate their clients about safety around dogs
  • dog industry professionals who want to offer bite prevention programming to local schools or community groups
  • Doggone Safe members who want to deliver the Be a Tree program on behalf of Doggone Safe (10% discount on 1 kit for Doggone Safe members - not applicable to sale price) - find out how to join Doggone Safe
Click here for more information or to buy a kit ($25 off from Mar-May 2015)


  1. I was referred to this site and the "be a tree" campaign and I think it is wonderful that a good word for a good cause is being spread. I hope that the number of dog bites decreases because of it.

  2. I think its shameful for stakeholders to make money off of a program that will not work in most dog attack cases. With bully breeds, there are no signs or warning of impending attack. Be a Tree does not work. You will probably remove my post but I must say it anyway. This does NOT work with fighting bred dogs!!!

  3. Dog behavior experts would disagree with you. Standing still and quiet will prevent most attacks. There may be situations where a dog is enraged or has been incited to attack, and in such cases there is unfortunately nothing a child could do to protect themselves. These types of incidents are very rare. We have heard of many case where standing still has worked with pit bulls. Here is one example: