Friday, July 31, 2009

My Guest Bloggers

This week I decided to take the easy way out and let some of the kids from camp do my blogging for me. Some chose to write something, and some chose to draw. These bloggers are between 9 and 12 years of age. I hope you enjoy it!

Alyssa S.

HAWS by Raven S.
Kittens and puppies may look cute, but have you ever thought about what happens to older dogs and cats? HAWS works extra hard to put older animals in homes. They have tried to lower prices on older animal. They also bring them into camps to show the volunteers that come here for camp. Reach out and help an older animal out. How would you like to live your whole life in a cage? Adopt an older dog today!!

HAWS Rocks!!

Carly B.

A Great Place by Mary Kate A.
HAWS is supportive in so many ways -- that's why you should be supportive by adopting a pet at HAWS. This awesome place has dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, lizards, birds and more.

I'm going to talk about animals that you might want to adopt here at HAWS. First pets are Lily and Norm. Lily is two and Norm is eight. These pets want to be adopted together because they were from the same home. these pets will change your life. Lilly and Norm will be your best friends. Lily is a beagle and Norm is a terrier mix.

Next is Flower. Flower is a kitten with a bundle of energy. Flower loves to play and cuddle with you. Flower is for someone who needs to be happy. Flower is a shooting star. Flower is not even one yet.

Next is Boss. Boss isn't even one yet either. Boss is a pitbull, but don't worry, Boss won't hurt you if you take care of him the right way. Boss is a crazy pup.

Finally Tonka. Tonka is a St. Bernard. A gentle giant. Tonka is awesome, he can be for any one. Even you. Go to HAWS and look for your special pet. If it's not there today, go tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. You'll end up finding your dream pet.

Sam B.

I am not a cat person, but when I saw Gable I knew I wanted him. He is the cutest kitten. When I saw him I thought he was full grown, but no, he is only 5 months old. Me and my friend were both looking at kittens. We saw a 3 month old and said, "oh, she is so little". Then I looked up and saw Gable. then my friend's mom said "that cat is only 5 months old". We were both amazed that cats grow that fast.

I walked out and saw Lilly and Norm. They are the cutest buddy pair I have ever seen. Lilly is a 2 year old Beagle, and Norm is an 8 year old terrier mix. I looked at the next cage over and saw Patch. She is a super cute tan and white pit bull. I got her to sit and lay down. I know Patch is the dog for me or you!


HAWS by Kirstin E.
HAWS stands for Humane Animal Welfare Society. HAWS rocks. HAWS adopts out dogs, cats, bunny rabbits, birds, iguanas, ferrets and has visitation rooms. Plus they have their own mascot, his name is Mystic.

We love HAWS.


Jenny V.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Volunteering at Camp

Our week-long Kid's N Critters Day Camps include doing volunteer work around HAWS. The kids clean cages, stuff food into Kongs for the dogs to work on, sort newspapers, and the older kids do some dog training.

When I first proposed adding volunteer work as part of our camp cirriculum I was told that it would be hard to get the kids to want to do it. However, I knew that part of what we want kids to get out of our education program is the realization that while pets are a lot of fun, they are also a lot of work. What better way to get that point across than to have the kids actually get a taste of it?

I think many of the parents would be amazed to find out that most of the kids actually enjoy the volunteer work that we have the kids do -- including the litterbox scooping, and rabbit cage cleaning. And I'm very sure that many of these same kids balk at having to clean up after their own pets at home.

Hopefully the message that caring for animals is a responsibility is getting through to the kids as they attend camp. And maybe getting a taste of volunteer work now will create a desire to be official HAWS volunteers when they are old enough.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Growing Up

One of the most rewarding things about having worked at HAWS for 5 years and running a day camp for that length of time is seeing the kids come back every year. It always amazes me not only how much they've grown physically, but how much more mature they are from year to year.

A few years ago one of our campers expressed disappointment that she would soon be too old to attend camp. Kat had always been one of the kids who showed a great amount of enthusiasm for animals and always enjoyed the activities -- she was a lot of fun to be around, and one of the kids I always looked forward to seeing every year. I assured her that when she was too old to come to camp that she would be old enough to be a volunteer counselor.

Sure enough, Kat is back this year, not as a camper, but as a counselor in training. She's jumped in with both feet -- taking on the responsibility of supervising the kids, running activities, and even doing the work that isn't a lot of fun such as cleaning up and taking the garbage out. I've promised Kat that when she is 16 next year I will hire her.

I'm gratified that our summer program is making an impact on how the kids who attend view and care for animals, and that they want to be a part of HAWS. I already have my eye on a number of 9 year olds to be counselors in training the summer of 2015.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Kid's and Cameras

Several years ago HAWS Education Department was given a small grant by the New Berlin Jounior Women's Club to purchase a digital video camera. Our request to them indicated that we planned on using it as an education tool for our summer camp -- and primarily that's what we've been doing with it.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was always looking for new activities for the kids who attended camp so that they wouldn't get bored. Initially we just had the kids make public service announcments about a topic that they had learned at camp. But a few years ago -- an on-line website that posts animals available for adoption for rescues and shelters, made it possible to post video of adoptable animals. This is of huge benefit, because video many times shows the personality of an animal in a way that a written description or photograph can't.

We started this activity with last year's summer camp -- with several sessions of the older kids. Not only did the kids really enjoy making the videos, it made them feel as though they were helping the shelter and the animals we have here, and even more importantly several of the videos were directly responsible for adoptions!

This year we've already had one session make videos of some of HAWS adoptables. I'm embedding one of them, but you can access the rest on our PhotoBucket account.

I've chosen the video of Tubby -- not because it's better than the others, but because Tubby in in huge need of exposure. A 9-year old lab mix, Tubby has been at the shelter for many months without much interest. If you know anyone who could be Tubby's new people send them to HAWS!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Great Press!

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal did a really wonderful story on our Kid's N Critters Day Camp that ran in the Waukesha edition of the Sunday paper! Thanks to reporter Mike Johnson for taking the time to come out and see for himself what goes on at our camp and interview both myself and some of the kids.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Another HAWS Education Employee

There's another member of the HAWS Humane Education team that shares my office. I haven't yet had a chance to introduce her on this blog.

"Rocky" the California King Snake was surrendered to HAWS almost 2 years ago when I was looking for a low maintenance education animal. Since she eats only once every 2 weeks and requires little handling to remain social, she fit the bill. The other advantage was that we don't often have snakes here at HAWS, and so she was an animal that would be something new for the kids to learn about.

I re-named her Severus Snake, and with the donation of a 4-foot long aquarium by a co-worker she took up residence.

While not a conventional pet, and certainly not a pet for everyone, some species of snakes make wonderful pets. Because there are a lot of misconceptions about snakes, and because most kids haven't had an opportunity to meet one, Severus is a great ambassador of her species.

Kids at camp and on the road when I do off-site programs learn that snakes aren't slimy, they require special care and housing equipment since they are cold-blooded animals, and they may be a longer term commitment than a dog or a cat. When Severus was surrendered to HAWS we were told she was 25. If true that would make her almost 27 years old.

I don't know how much longer Severus will be a member of our education team -- the research I've done indicates that California King Snakes generally live about 25 years in captivity. But as a very quiet roommate, she's welcome to share my office as long as she lives.