I’m a sucker for a good animal story, emphasis on good—whenever people start telling any kind of animal-related story, I always interrupt to make sure there’s a happy ending at the end of the tale. Not very polite, I know, but it’s all about self-preservation: Sad animal stories haunt me like nothing else (more so, even, than the idea of a world without cupcakes). So I’m pleased to share with you an animal story—with a happy ending!—about a dog on a mission to save the planet.
Once upon a time, on a cold Indiana morning, Kris Kiser was driving down the street when he came upon a small puppy running down the center lane. At a major intersection, the pup froze in traffic and lay down in the street. Kris screeched to a halt, blocked traffic, and swooped in to save the puppy.
After getting the all-clear from a vet, Kris adopted the pooch (named “Lucky” to express their mutual good fortune), and thus added a smart, playful, and incredibly energetic addition to his family. A couple years later, Kris and Lucky moved to a Washington, D.C. home that didn’t have a yard. Kris soon noticed that his faithful friend was suffering without his familiar lawn, and so he (I love this part—moving for the happiness of a beloved pet is right up my alley—don’t ask how much money I’ve sunk into enriching my cat Sniffles’ environment) and Lucky moved to a new place with more green space.
Lucky’s love of green spaces and yards led to a partnership with Discovery Education. The TurfMutt Science Program allows Lucky (a.k.a The Caped Dog Crusader) to tell his animal rescue story, and teach middle school students about plant science. As the furry face of the Discovery Education program, Lucky works to promote a series of educational curriculum, games, and experiments that help teach kids how to become better environmental stewards. How cute is that?
In honor of spring, Lucky and his friends at the OPEI Education & Research Foundation share tips for making the world a greener place, one lawn at a time.
- Fertilize naturally. Lawns take up the largest amount of carbon when they recycle nitrogen contained in grass clippings. So, take off your lawn mower’s mulcher bag, and leave clippings on the ground while mowing to break down and feed your grass naturally. Another way to feed your yard: Apply some compost to your lawn in the spring or fall with a seed spreader.
- Plant the right plant. Choose grass or plants that are right for the climate where you live—native plants will need less water and fertilization to survive (plus, they’re more likely to thrive and look pretty!).
- Mow regularly. A single grass plant can have more than 300 miles of roots, roots that grow strong with the right watering and pruning. Mowing your lawn regularly keeps grass healthier and thicker.
- Water early. Watering in the early morning before the sun is intense helps reduce the amount of water that gets lost from evaporation. Installing rain gutters and collecting water from downspouts also helps reduce water use. And when drought conditions exist, let the grass go dormant.