By Heather Schoeppach
Companion animals play an important role in our homes and hearts. Anyone who grew up with a beloved family pet can tell you that animals are not just adorable cuddle buddies. They help children learn love, compassion, friendship and responsibility first-hand.
Children learn to strengthen human-animal bonds by taking care of their family pet; from fulfilling the animal’s basic needs (such as water, food, shelter, and grooming) to understanding their medical and behavioral needs (such as annual vaccinations and obedience training). It is important, not only for the sake of their current pet, but also for any future animals they may own. Compassion for animals is also closely linked with all forms of empathy – and a child who is kind to animals is less likely to become violent toward humans as well as animals.
Although not everyone is able to add a furry family member, there are other opportunities for your children to connect with animals in meaningful ways. Every community has an animal shelter or rescue full of animals in need of help and love. From volunteering with their parents at the local shelter to finding creative ways to raise funds or supplies, there are many ways that children can make a difference in the lives of these animals.
At Butte Humane Society, our staff has met some very inspiring little boys and girls who have demonstrated amazing altruism to support their compassion for animals. These children have collected donations (both items and cash) through neighborhood or school donation drives, independent fundraisers, like bake sales or yard sales, or by “donating” their birthday parties to animals in need.
One such girl is the darling redhead seen in our ad, Aurora Copp. I first met Aurora after her 4th birthday party, when she came to our shelter to donate a variety of dog supplies and treats. Aurora had decided that she had enough stuff, so for her birthday party she wanted to collect items for the dogs at Butte Humane Society. Over the years, she has not only continued to do this at every one of her birthday parties, but also has made a point to be involved in community events in support of local animal shelters and rescues. Aurora is now 10 years old which means she is old enough to participate with one of her parents in Butte Humane Society’s volunteer program – and we hear she’s got another project in the works that will involve baking and selling dog treats to benefit Butte Humane Society as an ongoing fundraiser at a local bakery. Aurora is a shining example of youthful compassion in action, and what can be accomplished when parents support their children’s innate love of animals.
Butte Humane Society also offers educational presentations and tours as another way to encourage greater understanding and compassion for animals. We offer tours and activities, by appointment, at our adoption centers as well as on-site visits at your location. Our educational opportunities will be tailored to fit the interests and age range of the audience. Topics can include dog bite prevention, responsible pet ownership, spaying and neutering, and the importance of organizations like Butte Humane Society in our community. If your school, classroom, or community group is interested in an educational presentation or scheduling a tour, please give us a call at (530) 343-7917 x107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.