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Children are fascinated by animals.  Whether it’s a cuddly puppy or a scaly lizard, kids love their four-legged friends.  Kids learn social skills, like kindness and compassion, and boost their self-esteem by interacting with animals; they also learn responsibility and respect for our planet’s critters.  The question remains:  how can this love for animals turn a child into a budding philanthropist?  See the suggestions below from the Lexington Humane Society (LHS).

Set the Example
Children learn from their parents and peers.  It is important for you to set the example by living up to your own expectations.  Make sure to practice responsible pet ownership in your own home and always treat your pets with kindness and compassion.  Consider donating your time as well.  Animal welfare organizations are always looking for good volunteers to help with various activities.  LHS’s volunteers devoted more than 7,000 hours this past year alone in the shelter, through community events, or by temporarily fostering an animal.  Set the example for your child and show them why you donate or volunteer—and watch them follow in your footsteps!

Educate
Most children understand that animals have basic needs that must be attended to, but may not understand why there are so many animals in shelters.  Take the opportunity to educate your child about the function of a humane agency and spay/neuter programs.  Presenting them with a problem will give your child the incentive to find a solution and get involved.

Start at Home
Most organizations have age requirements for volunteering.  If your child isn’t old enough, there are still plenty of ways to help your local shelter’s animals.  Encourage your child to have a lemonade stand in the summer, with proceeds benefiting his/her favorite animal welfare organization.  Kids can also collect supplies needed to take care of shelter animals.  Many have requested donations for shelter critters in place of birthday gifts or used allowance money to purchase needed pet supplies.  LHS offers a Doggie Bank program where children can “rent” a small dog house bank and use it to collect donations for the shelter.  For more information about the LHS Doggie Bank program, call 233-0044 x 254.

Get Your Child Involved
With Your Local Animal
Welfare Organization
One of the best ways to let your child make a difference in animal welfare is to have them get involved with kids’ events at your local shelter.  These activities allow kids to not only make friends with other animal-lovers, but are great educationally and help kids see how they can personally help the animals and make a difference  LHS offers various children’s activities, including a summer Critter Camp.

For more information on summer camps or the LHS Foster Care Program, visit www.AdoptLove.net.
Provided by Lexington Humane Society

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