CCA teacher helps find homes for abandoned Siberian huskies
CCA French teacher Stephan Bihoreau volunteers with a nonprofit to place neglected Siberian huskies in loving homes to demonstrate 'Climate of Caring.'
Stephan Bihoreau, high school French teacher, recently introduced a classroom of 13 Commonwealth Charter Academy students to two welcome furry guests: his Siberian huskies, Sasha and Noah.
During the event, Bihoreau provided an overview of the often misunderstood nature of Siberian huskies and offered learners tips on how to care for them. At the center of the event was Bihoreau’s desire to demonstrate how we should respect and love all animals — a lesson he hopes learners will take to heart.
Bihoreau has been an advocate of Siberian husky care for about 10 years, ever since he and his wife started searching for a pet dog and began learning more about the breed. While commonly known for sled-pulling and their wolflike appearance, Bihoreau said, huskies are often abused and abandoned because their owners “don’t know what they’re getting into.”
“Huskies are con artists and escape artists. They're not naturally socialized. … If you’re not looking, they’ll destroy your house or run away,” he said. While they're highly intelligent and easily adapt to their environment, Bihoreau said, huskies are not the kind of dogs that will play fetch or return if you let them off the leash.
Unable to stand by in light of the amount of neglect this breed experiences, Bihoreau and his wife began volunteering for Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue, a Horsham-based nonprofit that seeks to rescue huskies from kennels and kill shelters. Volunteers educate the public, provide medical care and attempt to get dogs fostered and eventually placed into loving homes.
Over the years, Bihoreau’s home has become a steppingstone for many foster huskies before they’re adopted by other families. The Bihoreaus have themselves adopted over 10 dogs, many of which were old and scarred from abuse. “Our goal is to give them a good last part of their life,” Bihoreau said.
The family currently has two adopted rescues from Tails of the Tundra: the beautiful white and red-haired huskies Bihoreau brought to his CCA lecture.
“I’d love to do another event like this in the future — I think it’s important to convey that animals make us more human,” Bihoreau said. “I truly believe that if we know how to care for animals, we’ll also know how to better care for humans. Animals teach us to have more compassion and sympathy, which is the message I want students to learn from this.”
Bihoreau carries the "Climate of Caring" into every aspect of his life. He and his wife are both vegans, a choice they make out of respect for the lives of all animals. Bihoreau, who teaches in Harrisburg, was drawn to CCA because of a desire to share his love of language and connect with learners. He holds regular virtual lessons and enjoys seeing his learners engage and thrive in a "robust language curriculum."
Bihoreau believes teaching happens in and out of the classroom. "I grew up seeing my parents be kind to animals, and that's how I learned that life is precious," he said. "It's important for us as educators to model that kind of caring behavior."