RANCHO SANTA FE — A contingent of Kids Korps volunteers converged on the Helen Woodward Animal Center on Jan. 23 to participate in a project of helping ready a puppy for adoption. Before that, they got a tour of the facility, met some animals and learned a few things about each one.
“I like animals because they’re cute and really loving,“ said 11-year-old Lily Lucero while waiting for the tour to begin. ”Those are the same traits of nice people, although they do not have to necessarily be cute.”
Anna Herrera, director of education at the center, started the tour off with an introduction to Harriett the cockatoo. The snowy-white bird is an award-winning therapy animal that visits hospitals to help cheer patients. The very affectionate Harriett, 25, cuddles close to a person’s face and neck and likes to comfort people with limited mobility or paralysis, Herrera said.
Next was Andy the cocker spaniel. Herrera explained that dogs that are to be utilized as education animals must have special traits, like staying calm around large groups or loud noises. She gave a demonstration with Andy.
“Everyone clap your hands and cheer,” she said.
The kids complied and made quite a racket. Not only did Andy not become alarmed, it looked as though he was about to take bow.
Snack the miniature horse was next on the agenda. Snack, 29, grew up in a home with children. When the children grew up and moved away, he was donated to the animal center, Herrera said. There he lives quite happily getting lots of pets from visitors, like the Kids Korps members. All of the children said they really like helping others and they that they love animals.
“I think animals should be treated just like people, with respect,” said Maddy Israel, 13, who volunteers with Kids Korps at the San Diego Food Bank, performing duties like sorting and stacking.
Owen Baer, 10, a four-year veteran of Kids Korps, said he volunteers at the Bread of Life in Oceanside where he helps serve meals to the homeless and then helps turn the dining room into a shelter at night.
“I like helping homeless people feel better,” he said.
For many of the children, it was their first year in Kids Korps and this was their first event.
Kendal and Callum Furman, 8- and 11-year-old siblings respectively, have a dog, a cat, two fish and two birds. They were ready to complete their project during the recent event.
“I like animals because I can cuddle and pet them,” Callum said. He said he joined Kids Korps so he could help people in need.
Kids Korps is a nonprofit organization for children 5 to 15 who do community service which teaches them leadership and responsibility while helping others.
Finally, the group was ready for their project, helping socialize Parsley the puppy, which will make it easier for him to find a permanent home when he is put up for adoption.
They sat on the floor in a circle, letting the puppy gain some confidence and then the opportunity to be petted and scratched by everyone. Parsley, a Shepard mix, will be up for adoption as soon as he is neutered, Herrera said.
Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of animals. The no-kill shelter offers pets for adoption and educational and therapeutic programs for people.
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