Extra Help From Your Bellydance Teacher

I've had quite a few special needs students in my years of teaching. I've always taken time (unpaid) both in and out of class to give them extra help so that the class goes smoothly for them.

Most of them have been aware of and grateful for my extra effort, but one particular conversation had me very surprised and upset. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Did you manage to do a little practise at home during the week?

Student: No. I've got other things to do, you know.

And the attitude that went with the student's response was as displeasing as the content of the response. Okay, so she didn't practise at home - that's alright. I was just asking a friendly question. And, frankly, with all the extra effort I was undertaking for her both outside and during class was enough to warrant a little extra effort on her part too. Some practise at home would have served the situation well by making things a little easier for both of us.

Anyway, my point is this: if your teacher is going out of her way to cater for your special needs, show gratitude. This doesn't entail anything extravagant - a thank you for her effort, a little bit of practise at home to help things along and, of course, no narky responses to innocent questions.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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