Store from the OC Register
BY JENNIFER BECKER / GUEST WRITER
A lively group of children from the Anaheim Family YMCA filled the activity room at Betsy Ross Elementary School and sat with eager anticipation for their chance to meet Biggie, a 1-year old Chiweenie mix, and Topanga, a 1-year old terrier mix, from Westminster Animal Group Services Pet Adoption in Westminster. The pair were visiting in advance of the America’s Family Pet Expo, where the pups will be available for adoption.
“Our kids were so thrilled to see the dogs, pet them and learn about how important it is to take care of pets, ” said Zayra Martinez, program supervisor for the Anaheim Family YMCA. “We are so grateful when volunteers take the time to come to the Y and pay it forward with our kids. Today was also a good opportunity for our kids to learn more about responsibility because we teach and model that same value every day in our programs.”
Shelter coordinator Cortney Dorney brought in the rescued pair as “education ambassadors” to teach the kids about pet care and responsibility of owning a pet, which is one of the missions of WAGS and the America’s Family Pet Expo.
“Visits like these are necessary to reinforce the understanding of owning pet and a chance for kids to interact with animals who ordinarily don’t have an opportunity to do so, ” Dorney said. “Interaction is the key to learning when it comes to making a connection with animals.”
Children were encouraged to talk about their own pet and ask questions about the animals at WAGS. Some asked: “Can dogs eat pizza?” “What if a dog eats a raisin?” “What happens if there is an earthquake and my dog is outside?”
They were then taught the basic do’s and don’ts for dogs, including how often to walk a pet and what not to feed as treats. After the Q-and-A, the children were invited to meet the dogs.
“No chocolate, onions or grapes, ” Dorney said. “Veterinary care, a collar and microchip and grooming are necessary for a healthy pet.”
Celebrating its 25th year of promoting responsible pet care and ownership, the America’s Family Pet Expo features animal entertainment, pet education, interactive features and hundreds of animals available for adoption, including Topanga and Biggie from WAGS.
I forgot my own challenge. Not surprising considering I barely slept this weekend.
Friday night, headed out to WV to go to the Weston State Hospital. Stopped in Morgantown on the way there, and had some way yummy pizza. The hospital building was creepy enough by itself, the haunted house scared the hell out of me. Afterwards we talked to the people that set it up, and they told us numerous stories about actual hauntings of the building. I was originally going to do an overnight there. Not so much anymore, I'm good, I know it's haunted, my fiances going to go and I'm staying home with the dog!
Saturday had one adoption, ate at my favorite lebanese restaurant, and figured out that I'm going to be Misfits Danzig for halloween which lead to me dying my hair black and destroying my bathroom