Friday, August 31, 2012

HAWS Summer Kids 'N Critters Camp ended at the end of last week.  The building is certainly much quieter for the first time in 11 weeks.

The feedback from the parents and kids overall was extremely positive.  I've heard so many parents tell me what a great time their kids had -- even that out of all the activities the kids did over the summer, coming to HAWS was their favorite.  A lot of the kids are already planning on attending our camps next year. 

I went through some of the many (literally thousands) of photographs that my staff and I took throughout the summer to document what the kids did while they were here.  One of the things that struck me is how many different types of animals the kids were able to meet and learn about during their camp sessions. 

HAWS is a little unique in animal sheltering in that we will accept just about any kind of animal.  Many shelters handle only dogs and cats because they aren't set up to be able to accomodate the needs of other types of animals such as rabbits, pocket pets, birds and reptiles. 

While it's unfortunate that there is a great need for a place for all types of animals to go when their owners can no longer or aren't willing to care for them any more, the fact that HAWS does take in all different types allows us to use them as a learning opportunity in our education programs. 

Many times this means that we have to educate ourselves before we can pass this knowledge on to the kids.  Over the years I've learned about a lot of different species, but the Red Tail Boa we accepted a few weeks ago was a new one on me.  This one is only about 4 feet long, but full grown can end up to be about 10 feet long, and will weigh about 50lbs. 

Additionally the kids learn that all animals are not the same.  Different species need different care, require different habitats, display different behaviors, and require different handling.  Our campers learn about all these differences and get to see some of them first hand here at HAWS when they interact with the animals. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crowing about Kids 'N Critters Day Camp

He was supposed to be a girl named Ramona.  He ended up being a boy and was renamed Ray.  Because he was being picked on by all the other chickens, Ray the Rooster ended up being surrendered to HAWS.

Luckily for our campers this week Ray is friendly and personable, and gave the kids a great opportunity to learn about chickens, how they are cared for, and what kind of pets they make.  Camp counselor Brittany Tubbs has chickens and did a great job talking to the kids.  I learned that chickens eat a small amount of sand and pebble and that helps grind up their food in their digestive system.

Ray taught the kids why it isn't a good idea to keep roosters in urban areas, as he repeatedly crowed throughout the presentation. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kids Who Care

Earlier this summer the Pewaukee Park and Rec Department asked me to come and talk to kids who were participating in their summer program.  The kids wanted to learn what HAWS was all about because they were working on a project to benefit our organization.

At the time of the first visit the kids didn't know what they would do to help us since they were still in the planning stages of the project.   They were amazed to hear that we take in 6,000 animals a year and that in addition to dogs and cats we also take in a whole variety of different animals that people keep as pets.  The kids asked great questions, Mystic entertained them with a few tricks, and as I left the Rec staff promised to keep me informed of the outcome of their project.

Last week Mystic and I were invited to return, hear about the project, and accept the money that the kids had collected.  The kids were simply amazing.  They decided to do a car wash, and the day of the car wash turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer -- hovering around 100F.  The charge per car was $5.00, although many of the customers gave extra, and some people even donated money without getting their car washed.  The kids were ecstatic that their hard work paid off and they were able to collect $320.40 and in addition a box of items HAWS has listed on our wish list. 

Each of the kids also decided to sponsor a HAWS animal and made up a card with the animal's name and photograph on it.  They were very proud of their animals, and by the time I visited many of those animals had been adopted -- a fact that made the kids very happy.

Thanks to the kids of Pewaukee Park and Rec.  HAWS truly appreciates your support of the work that we do here, and the consideration you have for animals in need.