By Judy Kelly, ABC Tropical North Queensland
The children of Dundula State Primary School today took the opportunity to get up close and personal with some well-trained pooches so they could learn the basics of responsible pet handling.
Part of the Australian Veterinary Association’s Pets and People Education Program (AVA PetPEP), workshops like today’s give primary school students the chance to learn about what a vet does and how to keep pets healthy and well cared for. Representatives from Mackay City Council were also on hand to explain pet ownership and the Mackay Dog Obedience Club gave a demonstrated just how obedient pets can be.
We all know the scenario where a child begs their parents for a pet and loves it madly until they realise exactly what’s involved in the day-to-day responsibilities. Their attention starts to wane and before you know it, it’s mum or dad taking the pet for a walk every day, washing it on weekends and taking the extra responsibility on themselves, all the while muttering under their breath,”I knew this would happen”. The key to getting children to take responsibility for their pet or pets, apparently is preparation.
According to vet nurse from the Mackay Veterinary Hospital, Alana Klibbe, who was on hand to impart some valuable advice today, pets are a wonderful way to teach children about responsibility and caring for others. But she points out that not all pets are suitable for different owners. “The requirements for the pet choice should be based on a knowledge of these requirements, explains Alana. “It’s not just a case of taking them home and watching them play, there’s a lot more to it unfortunately. The time spent, the expense, love, food, shelter, water all comes together when you’re talking about responsible pet ownership.”