Mill Pond students helping Worcester animal shelter
By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – The fifth-grade teachers at Mill Pond School often use a variety of techniques to teach lessons, including inviting guest speakers in. Although the kids were certainly friendly and respectful to Karen Yeowell when she came to speak to them Nov. 9, even Yeowell would have to agree that there was no way she could captivate the children’s full attention that day. That’s because of who she brought along to the school with her that day – five adorable eight-week-old kittens.
As part of a service project, the students are learning about ways to help the Worcester Animal Rescue League (WARL). Yeowell, who volunteers at WARL, agreed to come and chat with the students about the mission of the shelter as well as ways they could help.
Currently, she told the kids, her family is fostering the litter of kittens that she brought with her that day.
“It’s important for them to be socialized,” she said. “The more they get touched and are around activity, the better.”
Although the kids weren’t allowed to hold the kittens themselves, their teachers did so. Everyone was then allowed to pat and coo over the kittens.
WARL is a limited intake no-kill shelter that helps find new homes for nearly 2,500 animals per year. Like many other shelters, it relies entirely on donations and adoption/grooming/boarding fees. It receives no local or federal government funding.
The main way people can help the shelter, Yeowell said, is by donating money to help pay for expenses such as staff, electricity, food and veterinary bills.
Non-clumping cat litter was also a constant need.
“They can’t use clumping litter because the kittens like to eat litter and the clumping kind will then just clump in their tummies,” she told the kids, who were both amused and grossed out by that information.
Other items to consider donating include – cat and kitten food, both dry and canned; dog food, both dry and canned; and towels and blankets (but not pillows or sheets).
Students are also invited to help name new litters of kittens, Yeowell said. There is a link on the shelter’s website to do so.
But the best thing, they could do, she added, was to be a responsible pet owner.
“Love your pet,” she said, “and give them lots of attention.”
For more information on WARL, go to www.worcester-arl.org. (Photos/Bonnie Adams)
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