04-12-2008 - Virtual dogs to teach real responsibility
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Virtual dogs to teach real responsibilityAN innovative educational initiative was launched on November 24 by Dogs Trust - with help from Nintendo and the pop group Girls Aloud.
The initiative, which is being piloted in London, aims to teach children about the responsibilities of caring for dogs. Nintendo has donated some of its Nintendo DS consoles and copies of its Nintendogs game to the trust. The game focuses on nurturing and caring for a virtual dog, and Dogs Trust believes that the responsible dog ownership message behind the game may encourage children to consider the commitment required in owning a real dog before taking on the responsibility.
The pilot scheme will build on Dogs Trust's existing education programme in schools. Natalie Dexter, the trust's education officer, said: 'Our education programme targets the dog owners of tomorrow about responsible dog ownership, and we're always looking for new and innovative ways of spreading our message within schools.'
The scheme is being supported by Girls Aloud, who are starring in a Nintendo DS advertising campaign. The group visited a Dogs Trust rehoming centre on November 24 (above) to launch the initiative and meet local schoolchildren