Kids group teaches animal care, kindness

Haley Gustafson | Daily Press 
At far right, Tonya Gartland, special events coordinator for the Delta Animal Shelter in Escanaba, discusses how shelter personnel test a dog for signs of food aggression (when a hand reaches for the dog’s food bowl) Tuesday evening during the shelter’s first session of Kids P.A.C.K. The educational program, aimed at helping and teaching kids how to properly take care of animals, will host sessions on the first and second Tuesdays of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the shelter.

Haley Gustafson | Daily Press At far right, Tonya Gartland, special events coordinator for the Delta Animal Shelter in Escanaba, discusses how shelter personnel test a dog for signs of food aggression (when a hand reaches for the dog’s food bowl) Tuesday evening during the shelter’s first session of Kids P.A.C.K. The educational program, aimed at helping and teaching kids how to properly take care of animals, will host sessions on the first and second Tuesdays of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the shelter.

ESCANABA — For a second year, the Delta Animal Shelter will be hosting a monthly educational program for kids, called Kids P.A.C.K. “P.A.C.K.” is an acronym for “positive, active, compassionate and kind.”

According to Tonya Gartland, special events coordinator at the Delta Animal Shelter, due to the high success of the program last year, the shelter decided to bring the monthly event back to the shelter to continue to teach kids the importance of taking care of animals.

Gartland explained this year the Kids P.A.C.K. will be broken up into two different age groups, which will meet the first and second Tuesday of each month.

The first section of Kids P.A.C.K, which hosted children ages 6-8, met at the shelter for the first time Tuesday; while the second session with kids ages 9-11 will gather at the shelter Tuesday, Jan. 9, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

During Tuesday’s session, six youngsters enjoyed a tour of the animal housing facility, played games, created a craft, learned about how to care for different kinds of animals and pets, and interacted with some of the kittens currently staying at the shelter. While on the tour of the shelter, kids had a chance to see how the dogs and cats are taken care of and also the process of how the animals are adopted out to their forever homes.

Gartland noted having the children come to the shelter is important, as it encourages them to visit the facility and become educated on how the shelter operates, while also having fun.

“We want the kids to be involved with the shelter,” said Gartland, adding the program is a great way to show kids the shelter is a friendly, welcoming place, while also learning and having fun.

Throughout the two sessions of Kids P.A.C.K., students will engage in various educational opportunities such as listening to guest speakers, learning about dog safety, and having one-on-one interaction with some of the animals housed at the Delta Animal Shelter, explained Gartland. Kids will also have the chance to make treats and toys for their pets.

In case of hazardous weather during the winter months, the club will be cancelled when Escanaba Area Public School District closes school for the day.

Gartland noted there are still open spots for the sections of Kids P.A.CK. and anyone interested can contact the Delta Animal Shelter at 789-0230.

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