What feels like forever ago, the children and I took a trip (with their extraordinary parents) to the Edmonton Humane Society to do a program called "Tails are not for pulling." I have done this program a few times now, and have loved it more and more each time. The program tells children a story about how pets have feelings, needs and fears in an age appropriate way (we had 1 1/2 year olds to 5 year olds).
After reading the preschool picture book about animals and their feeling, the children were introduced to either a few small animals (such as a ferret and bearded dragon) or a dog, named Riptide.
The children, with the support of an adult, were taught how to meet a strangers pet and how to ask if they can pet the pet. Approaching a new animal can be tricky, especially if the dog is full of excitement and offers permission in the form of a wet nose and swinging tail before the child can even ask. When the opportunity is offered, always take advantage of asking the animals human if they can pet the pet. You can create this successful interaction by asking the dogs human "may I please pet your pet?" If the answer is yes, invite the puppy over with two gentle claps of the hands, two gentle taps on your lap and a smile (after taping your lap, take a small step back to create an inviting amount of space). Sometimes the dog will come over excitingly, and sometimes the dog may not want to be pet. We need to respect the dogs' wishes too and teach our children that it is not going to happen, but they can wave to the scared or uncomfortable dog and then be on your way. If the puppy comes for a hello, ensure your child only pets the animals back, and not the face or tail.
So many cases of poor dog greetings could be avoided if we taught one another at a young age a kind, and respecting way to meet new animals. Children need to be taught to respect and honor everyone, not just humans but animals too. As they grow up, these children who practiced a polite interaction will forever be observant of unfamiliar greetings, and avoid bad situations.
After our story time, the children were brought into the gorgeous space of the adoption area for a behind the scenes tour.
I love how interested the boy is in the cat eating, learning what basic needs a cat has.
As a non pet owner, he is given a firsthand chance to see that the kitties needs.
The society helps rehome scaly pets too, like this boa constrictor.
The children helped raise $257.17. Way to go playschoolers!
Thanks for playing with us Riptide.Sincerely,