Students learn to properly care for their pets

Ms. James's Year 2 class and KidsCare volunteers, from left, Sabrina Stecyk, Kristen Ford, Christina Girgis, Genevive Georgiades, Mercedes Royo and Kiralee Harnett with her dog Shadow.

Since September, KidsCare volunteers have been visiting Sir John A. Cumber Primary School every Monday, teaching students about kindness and how to care for their pets.

The volunteers give presentations on spaying and neutering and talk about the free spay and neuter program offered by animal welfare organization CARE. Students also learn how to approach a dog, and about dogs’ body language.

A key theme of the lesson is covering the “5 Freedoms” of animal welfare: freedom from hunger and thirst, from pain and injury, freedom to express normal behavior, freedom from discomfort and from fear and distress.

“We always bring a pet with us and allow the kids to spend some time practicing their approach skills with the dogs,” said Sabrina Stecyk, who heads the program along with founder Kiralee Harnett.

The team visits different classes each week, working its way through the entire school, and teachers report that the students have been very receptive to the team and the dogs they bring to the sessions.

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Zoie Bush practices how to approach and pet Shadow.

“Since our launch in 2015, we are so pleased to have received such positive feedback from the teachers and students in the schools we have attended, and through this we have formed a very strong partnership with the YMCA of Cayman, where we have just completed the school term at John Gray High School with their after-school program,” said Ms. Harnett.

“We strongly believe in the importance of educating the youth of Cayman, not only for the animals’ sake, but to draw lines of empathy and compassion to the people and environment around us,” she said.

“We are very excited to be launching our first animal welfare magazine in the new year, which will help us reach as many students as possible across the island to spread awareness and better the community we live in.”

KidsCare is a volunteer-run initiative which branched off from CARE.

For more information, contact [email protected] or [email protected]

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