1. Find out what care different pets need
—> Play bingo at a pet store (sort of). This step would work if you went to a big pet store, but it wasn’t a good fit for our local pet supply store as they focus pretty much on cats and dogs. I was actually not terribly thrilled with this step. For one thing, there is only one bingo card, so everyone is going to get bingo at the same time. I ended up having each girl choose one pet, and then we talked about the basic needs of that given pet: cost, care, food, space needed, human interaction, vet visits, grooming, exercise, and cleaning up after them. There has to be a way to make this more fun and less sit down and talk.
2. Keep a pet comfy
—>Make a cozy sleeping space for a pet. For this step, we focused solely on dogs and cats. The store manager, et al… asked the girls what they would use for beds for their pets (blankets was the most common answer), and where would you put their bed (not near the heater/air conditioner). Since we were in a pet supply store, they pulled items down to show the girls what was needed to keep pets comfy (beds of varying sizes, etc…).
3. Help a pet stay healthy and safe
—> The woman who brought in her dog, covered this section. I believe she fosters dogs to get them ready for adoption. She talked about common illnesses for dogs, how to treat them, and what happens at a vet visit. She also talked about the importance of proper grooming and went over the basics of brushing and clipping nails. We had also covered some basics of grooming other animals during pet bingo.
4. Make a pet feel loved
—> Make a simple pet toy. The girls made catnip toys at one of our meetings. The idea came from Operation Happy Sock. We’ll take them to the SPCA this coming Saturday.
5. Feed a pet
—> The girls did this Step on their own. They had to write down what they did and bring it with them to a meeting. Most of them either made a pet budget for two different pets for a month, or made a 2-week feeding schedule for their pets and carried it out. One girl took care of someone else’s pet for a month.