Looking after pets like “One of the Family”
Hewitt and RSPCA national education coordinator Shelley Ryan have been presenting an empathy education programme “One of the Family,” to Year 7 and 8 students throughout New Zealand. The programme identifies and shares key messages about the benefits of caring for animals, the link between family violence and animal cruelty, and the choice each person makes to live free of violence.
Hewitt says that by the age of 11, children develop a social conscience and can make the choice to treat animals with care and respect. He talks about his own violent childhood experiences within his family and how his animals became his best friends; the “safe place” he needed most.
“We’re teaching them to be kind to animals, so they’ll grow up to respect others.”
For more information, visit www.rnzspca.org.nz and www.oneofthefamily.co.nz.
“Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility and a lifelong commitment,” says Barry Helem, CEO at SPCA Canterbury. “Unfortunately many new pet owners are unprepared for the responsibility of owning a companion animal and as a result our animal centre cares for thousands of unwanted, sick, injured and abused pets every year.”
SPCA Canterbury strongly urge all potential adopters to carefully consider their circumstances and capabilities before committing to pet ownership, to help decrease these numbers. The SPCA website has a list of questions that help potential adopters to decide whether they are ready for the commitment. These include contemplating the ongoing costs, the time needed to care for an animal, and whether their home environment is suitable for a pet.
“Matching the right animal with the right family is really important,” a RSPCA spokesperson said. “People will often come into the centre with clear expectations about the pet they want, but after discussing their lifestyle and circumstances, we can help them make sure that the animal they have in mind will suit their long term needs.”
The SPCA adopt-a-pet service gives thousands of animals a second chance at a loving home. SPCA Canterbury offer a “no time limit” policy on all healthy animals available for adoption and are committed to caring for them until they find new forever homes. “Having a pet is about more than just owning an animal,” said Helem. “They become a vital and important member of your family, offering a lifetime of unconditional love and loyalty.”
If you would like to know more about adopting a pet from SPCA, or to view their available “adoptees”, visit www.spcacanterbury.org.nz or drop into the animal centre at 14 Wilmers Road, Hornby – open Monday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm.