New summer program for animal lovers

A three-day program will teach kids all about animal behaviour and how to care for pets

If your children love animals and would like to learn more about how to help them thrive, there is a new program that might pique their interest.

The Montreal SPCA is partnering with ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education to create Animal Allies, a three-day summer program that will give kids an inside look into what it takes to care for an animal at a shelter.

There will be hands-on animal care, including cleaning, feeding, taking part in training sessions, and playing. The program is open to all kids; no experience with animals is required.

There will be one day all about dogs, one about cats and the other one about small animals like rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and rats. Each day will focus on the animal’s specific needs and kids will learn how to help animals relax, keep them stimulated through play, and teach them good behaviour through various activities.  

Before interacting with the animals each day, the kids will attend behaviour workshops so they can learn how to act around the animals. The focus will be on things like how to communicate with a dog, how to tell if an animal is stressed, understanding how cats express themselves, and how to handle a small pet. The rest of the day will be spent doing tasks such as cleaning cages, reading to the cats, training the dogs, and more. They will also play animal-themed games and learn about how they can help animals in their community.

Kids usually have to wait until they turn 18 to volunteer at a shelter, but this program will give them some early learning experiences. 

The program will be offered every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from June 25 to August 1. It is open to kids ages 8 to 14. Participants can sign up for as many or as few days as they want, and there will be a maximum of 12 kids per day.

The program costs $100 per day.

For more information and to sign up, visit engageanimal.org.

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