Special authored post by Steve King, Executive Director of the Pet Care Trust
The pet industry is a multi-billion dollar industry for a reason. Millions of pet owners don’t lie. Pets enter our homes and we reap the benefits. They provide happiness. They provide companionship. They don’t judge. And we show our appreciation by treating them like what they are, family. The benefits of children having pets are even greater. By interacting with and caring for pets, children learn lessons on responsibility, empathy, nurturing, acceptance, and more. But some children don’t receive exposure to pets. They don’t have a pet at home to interact with, love, take care of, and enjoy. This is why the Pet Care Trust started the Pets in the Classroom grant program.
The Pets in the Classroom grant program offers pre-kindergarten through 8th grade teachers in private and public schools across the country financial support to purchase and maintain classroom pets. By providing teachers financial support to include small animals in their classroom environment, the Pet Care Trust hopes to help children experience the benefits of having a pet. The impact is profound, with teacher after teacher telling us about how their classroom pet positively impacted their students:
I had a great classroom experience with the pets. My class really enjoyed it and it also helped them academically. They did research to learn more about out pets, which led to them wanting to learn more about other animals.
What I thought was the most amazing wasn’t so much the academics. My kids were excited about school and the pets. They told their parents, their friends and their siblings. Everyday after school I had people in my room talking about, learning about and appreciating an animal most of them never had any experience with.
Gwendolyn Woolley Elementary School
Las Vegas, Nevada
Thank you for the grant! I’ve watched many kids that I have rarely seen smile put a huge uncontrollable smile on as they interact with the different pets in class! I’m so glad I was made aware of this! Changed my classroom environment completely!!
Arnold Middle School
A phenomenal opportunity to bring a pet into our 7th grade science classroom. There were many opportunities throughout the year to reinforce responsible pet ownership along with the understanding of maintaining a license to own our corn snake. The students watched him grow and became a companion to many students. It was inspiring to watch the students, at first apprehensive, become much more understanding of the gentleness of a snake. It is absolutely beautiful.
Howell Memorial Middle School
Freehold, New Jersey
With such incredible things happening in schools thanks to classroom animals, we have set a goal of impacting 5 million children through the Pets in the Classroom grant program. Please consider supporting the program financially so that the Pet Care Trust can continue to provide funding to teachers to provide their students with benefits that come through classroom pets. Learn more by visiting www.PetsintheClassroom.org.
The American Pet Products Association and Pet Care Trust have long supported each other’s initiatives such as the Pets Add Life campaign and the Pets in the Classroom program over the course of several years.