When my daughter was 8 years old she told us she wanted a “real” dog. Biscuit, her plush “stuffed” dog wasn’t living up to her expectations and she wanted to adopt a lively furry pup into our home.
At the time I felt torn and upset. I thought it would be great to adopt and care for a dog, yet it wasn’t a good idea for our family since we’re active and often away from home. We explained this to our daughter and she was very disappointed.
At that time we had 2 wonderful cats, 3 goldfish, many more fish in another tank, 2 frogs and a gerbil. We thought we had the pet department covered pretty well, but what could we do about the dog dilemma?
The Pet Shelter in Parma, operated by the Northeast Ohio SPCA, offered a great solution for our situation. They appreciate volunteers’ help with the care of animals and will allow children to volunteer as long as an adult accompanies them.
Over the last 5 years we’ve had many wonderful experiences caring for the animals at the SPCA. Kelly is content with the time she spends with dogs and we like to take them on long walks in the nearby park.
Dogs have such unique personalities, just like people, and we’ve learned much about the different breeds and mixes of dogs by walking and playing with them. Volunteering at a local pet shelter has proved to be a great family activity. We always feel good after volunteering at the SPCA and look forward to our next visit.
If you find yourself in a situation similar to mine, I hope you’ll try volunteering with your child at a local pet shelter. It’s very beneficial and a great way to model the gift of giving and kindness.