Friday, August 16, 2013

Teaching Children to Care for Animals

Family Pets
Caring for a Family Pet

We have some new friends at our house, their names are Bluey, Turbo and White Flower. Bluey is a Betta, and Turbo and White Flower are snails. My son has been asking for a fish tank forever and so I finally gave in and told him that he could have something that would live in a honey jar which left us with a Betta and two snails. He also had to work off the bill since he only had $.15 to contribute to the food and price of fish and gravel. Anyway, as it turns out, fish are an excellent way to teach caring skills. As it turns out, a Betta has to be fed at the same time with the same amount of food everyday. A fish is not like a dog which we also have two of. A dog will tell you if he is hungry. Our little Maltipoo likes to protest by dancing on his empty food bowl if he goes empty. He also barks at my hubby every night at five o'clock sharp for his special treats. A fish just swims around without a voice. I am quite impressed that the fish is still alive. So, it helps in teaching animal care if you have an animal and apparently a fish will do.

Caring for Pets

We also have two small dogs and we ask the kids to take responsibility for these pets too. Does it mean they always feed and care for them without being told? Of course not, but they are learning. My daughter is responsible for bathing the dogs each week as well as brushing them on a daily basis and cleaning their teeth and eyes when she is asked. My son is still young, I'm impressed that the fish has made it this far, however he is also responsible to help feed and water the dogs and take them outside.

Veterinary Care

We also take the puppies to the vet and the groomer as a family. It is important that the kids learn proper care and lets face it, they often respect a professional opinion. When you take the kids to the vet with their pet they hear word for word care instructions from a professional. It also solidifies the reality of the situation and they will remember the details better. It is also important to pick up a book or two about animal care. We have read about animal care and even made homemade treats and a birthday cake or two!

doggy birthday cake
Doesn't it Look Good Enough to Eat?

Bird Sanctuary

Another way that we have taught our kids to care for animals is by building a bird sanctuary in our backyard. This has come with a price. Not so much the price of bird food, we sometimes make that homemade, but we have also had to care for two fallen baby birds and a rescued turtle took up my sink one Thanksgiving Day. However, I wouldn't trade the learning experience of watching and rescuing wild life.

Finally, make sure that if you can't get to Fish and Game Day, you take advantage of some of the other learning opportunities through Arizona Fish and Game. They offer tons of workshops and animal encounter experiences that are very important for every Arizona kid.

You may also want to read Studying Birds and Arizona Fish and Game.

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How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

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