Shelter Buddies Kids Club teaches kids about animal care
Organized chaos reigned at North Dartmouth’s Humane Society and Shelter on Thursday as the Shelter Buddies Kids Club learned all about farm animals — by running amok with ducks, goats, and chickens.
The kids were able to feed the animals — all rescues brought in by shelter staffer Krystle Mastera, who keeps them at home — bread and carrots in a large, empty room.
Mastera said that she doesn’t really farm, but took in the animals because she had the space, and they had nowhere to go.
Her daughter Rilynn, 6, also came along to help show off her chickens to the group of older kids.
“I am having so much fun,” said ten-year-old Addison Thompson over the quacking and clucking. “I love chickens.”
Thompson said that she hopes to eventually get a chicken coop of her own.
This is the first time she’s come to the Shelter Buddies Kids Club.
Today, Thompson said, they redecorated the cats’ room and painted pictures as well as learning about and playing with the farm animals.
Mastera put down a bowl of water for the ducks before telling the kids that they need to submerge their nostrils in order to be able to drink properly.
Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Eva Koczera was on the other side of the room feeding the goat Blueberry.
She said that one of her favorite parts of the kids club was being able to spend time with all the different animals. “Especially the kittens,” she said, “because I don’t have any.”
“The kids are having a great time,” said the shelter’s Executive Director Melinda Ventura. “They’re loving it.”
“A lot of the kids come back year after year,” she added.
And it’s only gotten bigger.
“We started with one session,” said Ventura. “And then it filled up almost immediately, so we added a second session.”
This year they’ve added a third session in August.
Every day the kids do something different with a variety of guest speakers.
On Monday the sheriff’s department brought K9 units in for a demonstration. Later in the week the Lloyd Center brought sea creatures for a touch-tank talk, and Dartmouth Animal Control also showed off their equipment and spoke to the children about wildlife.
For the last day on Friday, the kids will learn to ride horses at a local farm.
And they also got to help out with the animals around the shelter.
“They’ve bathed dogs, they’ve hung out with the different animals, they’ve done crafts,” Ventura said. “The kittens are a big favorite.”
The next two sessions for the Shelter Buddies Kids Club run July 22 - 26 and August 5 - 9.
Space is limited, but registration is ongoing. Kids aged 8 - 12 are welcome.
For more information, contact the Humane Society and Shelter South Coast at (508) 995-6661.