Fort Rucker Primary School students took some time to learn about compassion for homeless animals, and counting by 10, during the school's Share the Love Assembly Feb. 14.The assembly culminated the students' donation drive that raised more than 120 helpful items to four local animal shelters, and Dr. Vicki Gilmer, principal of Fort Rucker Elementary and Primary School, said it also helped inspire the students to live up to the school's vision, Inspired and Compassionate Learners Striving for Excellence."Today is all about love," she told the students at the assembly. "Compassionate means not only are you kind, but that you do something, too. If you walk by someone and say, 'Hi.' That is kind. But compassion is taking it a little step further. So, if you walk by and say, 'Hi, can I help you carry that?' You're doing a little more than just being kind -- you're doing a little bit more to help out."That is what this is about," she continued. "We have been very compassionate to our animal friends (with the donations)."The children were then treated to a visit by about 10 animals from the shelters, which included dogs, cats, owls and a tortoise, while representatives from the facilities explained what they do, how people can adopt from them and how they can donate to the cause of helping animals who are down on their luck.While all of the animals and representatives were warmly welcomed as they were introduced to the students, the three owls from Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary in Enterprise were the hits of the day before Spurdicus, an African spurred tortoise also hailing from Big Bend, stole the show by relieving himself on stage to the delight of the students."He does that a lot," said John Morse, who runs Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary that specializes in providing homes and assistance to wild animals. "This is the greatest thing -- any time I can talk to kids, I take advantage of it. They're the future and it's important to teach them the importance of taking care of this world."Morse explained to the students how Spurdicus made his way to the shelter."Somebody thought it would be nice to have a tortoise as a pet until they realized they live to be almost a 100 years old," he said. "So, they decided to go ahead and release him into the wild. But, as I said, he's an African Spurred Tortoise -- not Alabama. You can't release him here and think he's going to live."And Spurdicus struggled, Morse said as he showed the students the tortoise's deformed shell. "This is what happens when you don't get the right food. Their skeletons are on the outside, ours are on inside."The assembly and the drive "went very well," according to Yvette M. Esteves-Hurst, a reading teacher at the school who organizes the event annually."I think they learned a lot -- counting by 10 and the importance of caring for animals," Esteves-Hurst said, adding that the 120 items were put into 12 bags with 10 items in each one. "Everyone loves this assembly because of the animals who come to visit."She thanked the parents of the students, Gilmer and her co-workers for making the donation drive and assembly a success.The shelters who benefited from the drive and attended the assembly were Big Bend Wildlife Sanctuary, the Ozark Humane Society, Kitty Kottage in Dothan, and Sweet Doberman Rescue in Enterprise.