Kidz n Critters Camp is fun and educational
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By Mickey Zeldes  August 16, 2013 12:00 am

Our summer camp program is always successful – how can a mix of kids and animals not be? We try to balance our desire to educate with the kids’ need to have fun. 

Lessons are taught by animal experts –we bring in many guest speakers to share their wealth of information and passion for animals with the campers. We also try to bring these lessons to life by relating them to real situations. For example, we talk about the importance of having a microchip and ID tag on your pet, then introduce the campers to an animal that came in as a stray that doesn’t have a microchip (and then, if possible, to one that does and is going home) so they can relate what happens to a furry face. 

Then we do a craft where the campers make their pets an ID tag to literally bring the point home. Other activities, such as making pet friendly garden pots (kitty grass or herbs for rabbits) to sell as a fundraiser for the shelter and decorating the bags that will be used for the holiday pet gift giveaway let the kids feel involved and helpful. We always ask the oldest campers to articulate what they’ve learned so they can share their new knowledge with the community. Here is what our last group had to say:

Dear Community,

This week at Critter Camp, we learned a lot about how to care for animals. We learned that you should always microchip your pets and have a collar with an ID tag with your phone number on it so if your pet gets out or lost, it can be returned to you. In order to be a good pet owner, you need to give your pet love and attention. Giving them the right amount of love and attention helps you communicate with them and understand their needs. You should always treat your pet the way you want to be treated. Doing research on the pet you want before you get it helps ensure a happy home for you and your pet. Spay and neuter your pet so there are fewer animals in the animal shelter. We also learned about dog safety and how to best approach a dog. We learned a lot about caring for all animals this week.

We also took a field trip to Safari West. We saw a lot of monkeys and birds. Most of the animals were from Africa. The lemur is endangered because people are taking away their habitat by planting vanilla. They have two rhinos there. Their horns are made out of the same thing as our hair and nails are. When a baby rhino is born, it can weigh 150 pounds. Safari West was a cool place to go.

Our favorite part of camp this week was animal socialization. Animal socialization is when the campers get to spend time with adult cats, dogs, kittens, rabbits and pocket pets. This is a time to help the animals become more familiar with people. We learned about their personalities, age and how they came to the shelter. Socializing with the animals also helped us learn about which animal best fits our homes, too. Critter Camp was an educational and fun experience and we can’t wait to come back.


Session 6 - 6th and 7th Graders

Shrena Desai, Daniela Franco, Chris Giudice, Kayla DeCarly-Heil, Christina Lang, Bailey Martinez, Patrick McKenzie, Ashley O’Toole, Hina Patel, Khushi Patel, Jennifer Seibold, Jessica Seibold, Ava Valadez and Linda Zhang

Upcoming events 

August adoption special – “Name Your Own Fee” adoption special. Come in and fall in love with one of our cuties and name your own adoption fee. All reasonable offers will be considered. It’s such a deal – don’t miss it.

Mutt Strut: Grab your friends and family and form a “pack” to participate in our fundraising Dog Walk and Pet Fair on Sept. 28. Start getting pledges and raise money to support the shelter. Top fundraiser and pack wins great prizes. For forms and registration details go to:

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at


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