(BPT) - Approximately 6.5 million animals enter shelters each year looking for their forever home. It’s a wonderful feeling to change a life by bringing home a new furry family member, and it helps teach children valuable lessons of responsibility and basic pet care.
Whether it’s the adoption of a playful pup, a cuddly cat or another type of animal, pets hold a special place in their owner’s hearts. All pet owners know animal welfare depends on the actions of thoughtful individuals today as well as teaching future generations how to be good pet owners.
Parents and caregivers play an important role in educating kids about pet adoption and animal welfare. Here are some ideas for helping children learn about this important topic this holiday season.
Idea 1: Read age-appropriate books on the topic
Books can be a great, engaging way to teach children about animal shelters and pet adoption. One great example is “A Home For Hilly,” a heartwarming tale of a dog named Hilly who enters an animal shelter and has her life transformed before meeting her forever family. Kids will be able to see how, through love, care and proper nutrition, pets' lives can truly change. For every download Hill’s Pet Nutrition will donate one meal to shelters in need for up to 10,000 meals! So not only are you teaching an important lesson, you’re helping a local shelter feed pets in need, one meal at a time.
Visit www.amazon.com today to download “A Home For Hilly" for free and help pets in need.
Idea 2: Visit a shelter
One of the best ways to learn about the adoption process and how it helps animals is to visit a reputable animal shelter, like one of the 800+ supported by Hill's Pet Nutrition. Your kids will see how a shelter works and have a chance to ask questions to the employees and volunteers. By experiencing a shelter in person, it’s easy for kids to relate the messages they’ve learned from caregivers and from books like “A Home For Hilly” to real life. This helps underscore the teachings and fosters a lifelong love of animals.
Idea 3: Get involved
After visiting a shelter, consider how your family can make a difference by volunteering. Call your local shelter and ask about options for volunteering together as a family. Feeding the animals, staffing adoption events and walking dogs are common volunteer options, but some shelters have more innovative programs, such as opportunities for kids to read to pets.
Another option is to host a holiday supply drive for the shelter. Get a list of supplies the shelter needs most and collect those items. Most shelters welcome things like paper towels, soap and pet toys, but it's always best to check with your local shelter for specifics. Kids might decide to host a lemonade stand or bakery stand to raise money for the shelter as well.
Idea 4: Adopt, don't shop
When it’s time to consider adding another pet to your family, be a role model and adopt from your local shelter. Being part of a pet adoption is a big event in a child’s life that is sure to make a lasting impression. You can make a difference for animals today while educating the next generation of pet owners.