If you have kids, there comes a time when you are asked (or pestered) to add a dog to the family. “I’ll take care of it,” you hear. “I’ll walk it, I’ll feed it, I’ll brush it, you’ll see,” you hear, and you resist the urge to reply, “You gonna pay the vet bills?” But as animal lovers, many of us have been hoping for the day our children express a desire to be pet owners, because it means they are animal lovers, too. Well, there are effective and useful ways to introduce your kids to taking care of a furry friend, and the following three local events are examples of just that:
First, if your youngster knows they want an animal, but the type of pet they want changes on a daily basis, let the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine (142 Free St) rein them in, with Pick a Pet Pretend Play, on Friday the 16th at 11:30 a.m. Attendance is free with admission to the museum ($10.00 per person, under 18 months free). Children will take a fun survey to find out which kind of animal would best suit them and their families, getting plenty of information on what it really takes to be responsible for a living creature. Once they are paired with a species of pet, kids will be given the opportunity to investigate specific pets of that species, and learn what supplies they would need. Finally, they will take home a picture of a pet that needs a home and is staying at the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. They can check online to see when their friend is adopted.
The next step is meeting some live animals, and that happens, of course, at Meet the Animals, again at the Museum & Theatre, on Sunday the 18th at 10:30 a.m. (free with admission). Your young adventurer will meet a real live pet and will be able to ask an animal caregiver about what the responsibility of having a pet in their life is really like. A humane educator from the Animal Welfare Society of Kennebunk will join the conversation. She will have plenty to share about caring for furry or feathered friends, neither trying to scare kids with how serious this step is, nor encouraging them to take it before they’re ready.
If your family has made the leap, and you have a puppy younger than 6 months and under 30 pounds, pile in the car and head to the Drop In Puppy Social Hour at the AWS (46 Holland Rd, Kennebunk), on Sunday the 18th at 10:00 a.m. Your kids will know by now how important socialization is for dogs young and old alike. This is a great place to make new canine and human friends. AWS trainers will be on hand to facilitate and provide training information. The price is $12.00 for the hour, with no advance registration necessary.
Welcome to life with a dog in the family, and good luck!
Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine: 207-828-1234
Animal Welfare Society: 207-985-3244 ext. 111
Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland: 207-854-9771