Ways to help nurture kids’ hearts for animals in-need
It seemed like a simple enough plan: Go to the pet store. Purchase fish tank water neutralizer. Go home. But our five-minute visit soon turned into a longer, more emotional trip as my son began naming mice to bring home, and my daughter fell in love with Bowser, a handsome tuxedo cat.
On the ride home, tears streamed down my daughter’s face because we didn’t adopt her kitty. My son couldn’t understand why it wasn’t a good idea to bring home his newly beloved mice, Twinkle and Roxie.
The fact that we already have a kitten and a fish didn’t matter to my kids. All they knew is that they loved animals, and they wanted to do more to help them. So I reached out to several Kansas City-area organizations that provide assistance to needy animals and rely on the support of volunteers. They shared ways we can all realistically help, short of bringing all the fuzzy little creatures home to live with us forever. (Sorry, kids!)
Keep in mind the following non-profit organizations require volunteer training and a supervising adult for children. Each has its own policies for volunteers’ safety. Please check online for specifics.
Do I have time to give?
Volunteering with kids at a local shelter is great because it shows them the responsibility of pet ownership, says Alyssa Willett, volunteer program manager at KC Pet Project. At KC Pet Project, children with a supervising parent can tour the shelter, visit with cats, and help with tasks such as laundering or sorting pet bedding or covering toys in peanut butter and kibble. At Wayside Waifs, younger volunteers can read to animals, make toys for them, organize the food pantry, and help with laundry.
Do I have money to give?
KC Pet Project, Wayside Waifs, The Rescue Project, Great Plains SPCA and the Missouri House Rabbit Society are all no-kill independent 501c3 nonprofit organizations. Donations are tax-deductible and help these organizations continue to provide sanctuary, veterinary care, vaccines, food and resources for thousands of animals each year. Give online at:
KC Pet Project: https://kcpetproject.org
Wayside Waifs: http://waysidewaifs.org
The Rescue Project: http://therescueproject.net
Great Plains SPCA: https://www.greatplainsspca.org/
The Missouri House Rabbit Rescue Society: http://mohrs.org
Do I have space to share?
Maybe you’re not able to adopt, but you could consider caring for an animal in your home for a shorter period of time. Applications to foster animals are available online at all of the organizations mentioned here. The time commitment can vary, from a few months to just a few weeks for those who want to volunteer as bunny sitters through the Missouri House Rabbit Society.