It’s summer holiday time for schools, with children out of school now until September. Here at the Shelter we take advantage of this by inviting children to join us for our Animal Days.
Animal Days, run by our Education Officer Deb Morgan, take place during school holidays and are an opportunity for children aged 5 to 15 to spend time learning about what we do, how to be a responsible pet owner and meet some of the animals here looking for homes.
As Deb explained “education is a key part of our role as an animal welfare charity, and these Animal Days are a great opportunity to engage young people and start their pet ownership off the right way. We give them the knowledge to look after their own pets, but also teach them how to handle and approach other animals safely.”
The day begins with assisting the kennel team cleaning the small animals, a perfect opportunity to learn how to handle and care for rabbits and guinea pigs. Our enclosures allow the children to get in with the animals and it benefits us as the fluffies get used to handling and become more sociable.
Then it’s on to cats and an opportunity to meet and stroke them in their pens or our “catio” area where they can play with toys and give the animals some exercise at the same time. When we have kittens at the Shelter we try and introduce them to the children too, again it is beneficial to both and the kids love the cute little balls of fur and energy!
After a break we do some craft activities in our classroom. These take the form of making treats for small animals (decorated toilet rolls stuffed with straw and nibbles for example) or weaving mats for the cats to play with. There is usually some colouring and an animal quiz to enjoy as well.
Lastly the children get to meet some of our dogs. We advise how to approach a strange dog, ask for permission to stroke them and then how to make friends with the pooch. We talk about what to do if a strange dog comes to say hello, and it is fantastic to see some of the less confident children grow as they get to interact with our dogs. Then it’s off for a walk around our paddock, armed with treats and seeing if we can get the dogs to show us tricks!
Animal Days are hugely popular with the children, and the parents who can leave their little ones with us for a few hours, and so the sessions sell out within hours of being announced. If you would like to be added to the mailing list to get notification of the next set of dates, simply email Deb on firstname.lastname@example.org