In addition to teaching new vocabulary, Martha Speaks has another important mission: to help children and families understand animals, animal safety, and the importance of ending animal cruelty and homelessness. Many of the show's episodes incorporate information about how to treat animals humanely, be a responsible pet owner, and support animal shelters.
On the show, Martha is a shelter dog who is adopted by Helen and her family. The real dog named Martha, who inspired author Susan Meddaugh to write the popular children's book series, was a stray. "[The real-life] Martha has given me more than I could have ever imagined," Susan explains. "What if we hadn't adopted her? We would have missed so much. And it makes me sad to think of all the dogs in shelters, and all the love and surprises they could bring to a forever home of their own."
SUPPORTING ANIMAL SHELTERS
Whether you are a parent, teacher, afterschool leader, librarian, camp counselor, youth worker or just someone who loves animals, you can join Martha and her friends in helping animals. The following resources will help you get started.
- Event & Activity Ideas
- Mix and match these fun ideas for kids and adults to come together, get involved, and make a difference!
- Episodes to Watch
- Watch these Martha Speaks episodes that include issues such as pet adoption and animal safety.
- National Animal Appreciation Week (November 6–12, 2011)
- Find out more about National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, organized by The Humane Society of the United States, and how you can help.
Use these handouts at home, in school, or at an event.
- How Martha Became a Talking Dog
- Find out how Martha acquired the ability to speak in this one-page cartoon.
- Meet Martha, Her Family, and Friends
- This colorful guide shows you who’s who in Martha Speaks.
- M-A-R-T-H-A Song Lyrics
- Sing along with these lyrics to a Martha Speaks version of B-I-N-G-O!
- Dog Bone Bracelet
- Children can decorate and cut out these shapes to make dog bone friendship bracelets.
- Friendship Card
- Use this template for any writing activity or to create a tag kids can attach to items they donate to shelters.
- Hello, Doggy
- Help kids learn about how to approach animals safely and kindly.
UNDERSTANDING AND CARING FOR PETS
These resources will help you and your child better understand dogs and the importance of responsible pet care.
- Understanding Dog Talk
- Educators can use this K–2 lesson plan to help children understand how dogs communicate.
- Recommended Books
- Share with your child the importance of the humane treatment of animals and stories about dogs by reading these books together.
- Pet Advice from The Humane Society of the U.S.
- Find out important information and helpful hints about pet care.
- Tips for Pet Safety
- Watch this video of Helen and Martha explaining some great pet safety tips.