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Volunteer Adriana Anayo, 19, says the shelter “feels like family.”
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- Dos and don’ts for adoptive families
While all of the shelter animals available for adoption have received behavior training, it’s important that people understand that not every dog, cat or rabbit is a good fit for every child. Emily Burlingame, Santa Fe Animal Shelter’s behavior team leader, offered the following advice for adoptive families:
• Never leave a child alone with an unknown animal. Burlingame noted, “Older children – between ages 5 and 7 – have a better understanding of animals and can take instructions, but much younger than that and they don’t really have the ability to understand that animals might not understand their behavior.” So parental supervision is key.
• Respect the animal’s space and belongings. Kids need to understand that animals, much like humans, need boundaries and quiet time. Dogs especially have sensitive hearing and children love to run and scream – and that’s not always a good combination. “Children behave quite differently than adults, and dogs interpret that behavior,” Burlingame said. “Some dogs can be frightened of that, while other dogs might think of the child more like a toy. They are more likely to get ‘mouthed’ or pushed over by a dog, who is interpreting their movement as play.” Just like humans trying to understand canine behavior, dogs are also trying to figure out what the human’s behavior means. Human beings play with their hands and voice, while dogs play with their mouths, she said.
• Help children succeed with animals. In many ways, training kids to interact with dogs is much like training dogs themselves: You want to them to succeed by giving them the right tools, like throwing a ball or making a game out of teaching “sit.”
• Parents can model correct behavior. What affects children the most is what they see their parents do and how they see them interact with animals. According to Burlingame, when it’s done safely, growing up with an animal companion teaches responsibility, empathy and compassion. So do your best, parents. Your kids are watching!
- The Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society
100 Caja de Rio Road
Kennel viewing: 11 a.m. -5 p.m. daily
Contact: 505-983-4309: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check the shelter's website to volunteer: www.sfhumanesociety.org
Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014 6:00 am
Updated: 7:55 pm, Thu Apr 3, 2014.
Santa Fe Animal Shelter teaches kindness for all living things
Watching kids interact with animals is like watching love in action. According to Mary Martin, executive director of Santa Fe Animal Shelter, it’s easy to see that most children love animals. That’s why the shelter, located on a 100-acre campus on Caja del Rio Road, not only welcomes children, it also actively encourages them to learn first-hand about animals and the shelter.
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Thursday, April 3, 2014 6:00 am.
Updated: 7:55 pm.