Shelter Blog--All Of Our Future

by Susan Field, Public Affairs Officer


"Children are one third of our population and all of our future."  
     —Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

Elisa shows us the cute dog puppet she madeI had the chance this weekend to reaffirm my long-held belief that children are, indeed, our future. And, as one-third of our population learns and grows into adulthood, I see that animals will be in good hands.

Over the weekend, our shelter set up a booth at the KUIK Radio Northwest Family & Kids Festival in Hillsboro. Our volunteers and staff got to "play" by teaching lots and lots of kids about how to be a P.A.L. to pets. 

Don't get me wrong, as a parent and former school teacher, I know the value of structured and classroom instruction. However, I'm always amazed at how much kids learn when they are also having fun.

In the photo, Elisa shows her dog puppet while her dad tells us that she's a "real animal lover" and that "she loves her JoJo, a Chihuahua." Looks like she had fun, doesn't it? Well, not only the kids, but also a parent said, "This is fun."

While the children (and parents) glued on goggle eyes and paper ears to make dog or cat puppets, our volunteers and staff talked to them.

The tenets of the Golden Rule, treat others the way you would like to be treated, have been around for ages. And, thankfully, when I listen to today's kids talk about how they treat pets they know, I am reassured that those beliefs will be around for even longer. Like I said, animals will be in good hands.

When we talked with the children about how to be safe around dogs, many of them already knew to ask permission before petting a dog and to stay away from animals when they are eating or sleeping.

When we helped the children glue on paper dog licenses and cat ID tags, the kids began to understand that tags for animals were similar to writing names and phone numbers inside their backpacks or like adults carrying wallets. Like I said, the animals will be in good hands.

Education and outreach has always been part of Washington County Animal Services & Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter's mission. In fact, Washington County started offering humane education to area students in the 1980s. We're continuing today by engaging youths at events like this one and by visiting students in classrooms.

Our educators share with youths that being a P.A.L. to pets means:
·        Petting A Lot
·        Purchasing A License, ID tag or microchip
·        Providing A Leash
·        Preventing A Litter, especially cats.

Because, reaching out to that one-third of our population now will ensure that animals will be in good hands in the future.

* A special thanks to KUIK 1360 AM Radio for sponsoring our booth and to all of the volunteers who helped make this another successful outreach event.