There are a lot of things to learn about taking care of a pet, especially when you are young. That’s why a Brownie Girl Scout troop in Franklin, Wis., asked Globe University-Madison East veterinary technology program instructors to join them for a special troop meeting about pet care.
Veterinary technology instructors Heather Wipijewski and Brandie Moker shared information regarding how to care for a pet including:
- What pets should and shouldn’t eat. For instance, dogs can get very sick from grapes and cats should not ingest string.
- Exercise for your pet. Just like humans, it is important for our pets to get plenty of exercise too.
- Pet hygiene. It’s important to take care of pets’ teeth by brushing them or giving them dental treats.
- Pet expenses. Basic cat expenses can be approximately $800 per year, while basic dog costs are approximately $1,200. The cost varies depending on the health of the pet.
- How animals communicate. “Animals can’t tell you in words how they are feeling so many times they will tell you through their body language,” Heather said. “For example, when dog wags their tails, this generally means they are happy. But when a cat wags its tail, it is not happy.”
The girls in the troop were able to ask Heather and Brandie questions about animals. One girl asked, “Can pets get the flu like we can?” Heather and Brandie explained that most pets cannot get the flu, however, ferrets can.
During the troop meeting, the girls shared stories of their own pets while they played Pet Bingo. They also made fleece blankets for animals to keep them warm. The evening concluded with each girl earning a pet badge.
“I knew as soon as I saw the list of things the Brownies needed to learn and do to earn their pet badge that I wanted to help,” Brandie said. “I was fortunate to grow up in a home where taking care of animals was a way of life. Pets rely on their guardians entirely for their basic needs and we have a responsibility to provide those things if we adopt a companion animal. It’s difficult to explain to children that pets are indeed a lot of fun, but they also require a great deal of time, effort, and sometimes money. Heather and I were able to teach them about some of the aspects of pet ownership they might not have ever heard before.”