Sunday, April 13, 2014

Preschoolers at the Edmonton Humane Soicety

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.
Before we left, the children presented the humane society with the money they worked so hard to collect and donate to the shelter. It really was my favorite part of the trip! For me it was the closure of the children offering the mason jar to the EHS staff, and hearing her talk about all of the amazing things the EHS will do with the money. They worked hard to make the money; they brought it to school and put it in a jar. Now that jar was going to a woman on behalf of the Edmonton Humane Society who was saying the money would be used for various things, such as toys and food. I cannot speak on behalf of every child, but if one child realized on that day that when you take your hard earned money and share it with those who need it, you feel good! You make a difference. You keep the community going and keep it healthy and happy. My wish is that each child took a piece from that field trip, and if one piece was "giving feels good" creating lifelong volunteers and advocates, well than I couldn't be happier.

The children helped raise $257.17. Way to go playschoolers!
Thanks for playing with us Riptide.
Ms Asha

1 comment:

  1. What a great opportunity for the children to fundraise for a terrific cause and then learn about the animals at the Edmonton Humaine Society - I loved this service project and field trip!!!