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PS1 has been learning about how animals play an essential role in our community and the ways in which we are responsible in taking care of them. The unit is under the transdisciplinary theme of how we share the planet, with a central idea: “animals play an essential part in our community”.

On Friday, 23rd February, we visited the ‘Petsitters’. Petsitters take responsibility for taking care of  pets while their owners are on vacation or travelling. The team at  Petsitters who are very experienced in this type of short term care. They feed, give fresh water, brush and groom and exercise the animals,  by taking them for walks or taking them swimming.  Sometimes they have to take care of the animals medical problems until their owners return.

Shalaka (the founder of Petsitters) met us as soon as we arrived and introduced herself and her assistant Ms. Ira to the children, while  telling them the schedule for the morning. The children were excited and enthusiastic to go and play with the dogs whose barking could be heard as soon as we got into the premises. After snack, we set out for the pet swimming pool where some of the dogs were already playing with balls. The children were overwhelmed when they saw so many dogs and a few of them were scared and apprehensive about being near them. However,  when  we explained that the dogs just wanted to play, they slowly lost their inhibitions and   began to interact with the animals  and  even threw some toys for them to fetch.

Some of the children were even greater risk takers and helped Shalaka give the dogs their treats. They enjoyed watching the dogs swim and play with their toys in the pool. Each child took a turn throwing a toy in the pool for the dogs to catch. They also helped take a few dogs up the hill for a short walk.

The children came back tired but pleased to have lost a little bit of their fear about interacting with dogs. They were all very principled throughout the trip and listened to and followed instructions.