Kids learn animal safety/pet care at library
By PAMELA GRANT
With a room full of cute, cuddly, scaly, and fuzzy critters, Wednesday’s Summer Reading activity was ‘paw’sitively adorable.
Copperas Cove Animal Control Officer Tamara Hall teamed up with Dave Weimert from Pet Supplies Plus (PSP) for a presentation on pets that was fun and informative. Hall’s half of the event focused on animal safety while Weimert’s half focused on informing the audience on a variety of different pets.
After the two finished their portion, the kids were invited to craft a dog or a snake using paper plates.
“For me, it is about safety, because too many times, a child’s actions inadvertently lead to a dog bite,” said Hall about why she teaches classes like the one she taught on Wednesday.
Hall said that all animals have the potential to bite, she added that it’s important to recognize the animal’s body language. She talked about how to properly greet a friendly dog.
Hall said that it’s important to get down to the dog’s level, and gently reach your hand—in a fist—out for the dog to sniff. If the dog is willing, Hall said that you should start by scratching under the chin and work your way up to behind its ear.
Hall said that the data has shown a significant decrease in the number of children bitten by dogs since she has started teaching her class on animal safety.
Hall also wanted to remind owners not to leave their pet in their car this summer. Even if the window is cracked, your pet could still overhead and die.
Weimert took over for the second half of the presentation. Weimert was aided in his presentation by his son, Aden Berg-Weimert (8), and Kim Ortega, an animal specialist who also works at PSP.
Weimert first talked about the positives that come with crate training your dog.
“Dogs can get stressed out easily,” said Weimert. “So, a lot of times, the dogs will want a place to go—a safe spot.”
He said that the crates give the dogs a place of their own to settle down.
Weimert showed off a variety of animals during his presentation including a skinny pig, panda hamster, corn snake, and more. The children were allowed to pet the skinny pig, Kenyan sand boa, and a bearded dragon.
“It was good,” said Cirilo Carmona Jr. (9) about the show. “I liked most of the animals except the reptiles. I was scared to touch them. I liked Coco the dog because if you like dogs, they will like you back.”
Susan Owens brought her grandchildren Jubilee (6) and Gideon (4) Owens to the event. Owens said that she thought the program was great and that her kids really enjoyed it. Owens said they wanted the kids to learn more about how to care for their own pet. She said that she really enjoyed how informative the presentation was.
Owens added that she likes the idea of the Summer Reading Program and signed up her grandkids on Wednesday.
“Summer reading gives them an incentive to give them a reason to read,” said Owens. “They both read a lot, but it’s just the challenge of reading more and giving them a reward for reading.”
The Summer Reading Program continues next week with a variety of fun activities. On Tuesday at 10 a.m. is Toddler Time, and at 2 p.m. is the Teen Group. This week, the teens will have the opportunity to create an object to be printed with a 3-D printer. On Wednesday at 2 p.m., the Solid Waste Department and Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful will hold a class on taking care of our world. Thursday will round off the week with performances by the Austin Reptile Show at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.
All the Summer Reading Program events and activities are free to the public.