By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The popularity of the summer children's programming at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County could lead to extra classes added to the end of the summer and early fall, staff said.
Spots are quickly filling up for the summer programs but a few classes are still open, said Janet Winikoff, education director for the animal shelter.
Classes offered include veterinary basics, junior humane officer, pet first aid and CPR, dog care basics, cat care basics and pet photography.
The three-hour classes are $25 and include instruction, materials, a snack and a keepsake. The proceeds benefit the animals at the animal shelter.
In veterinary basics, students will learn how to perform a basic exam, work with a microscope, weigh animals and monitor animal behavior. Issues such as overpopulation and spaying and neutering will be discussed in class, and stuffed animals will serve as mock patients for procedures.
"The kids get gloves, caps, masks and gowns and then work in surgical teams to exam their patients and do mock spay surgeries," said Ms. Winikoff in an email interview. "Nothing graphic, just lots of education and fun!"
Dates for the class are July 8 and July 15.
"The newest (class) is the junior humane officer, which we started last year," Ms. Winikoff said. "The class gives children some insight into the law protecting animals and explains what they should do if they see an animal they think is in trouble."
Moral issues and mock scenarios will be used as practical examples of what may happen to an animal in the community.
Each participant will receive a special engraved dog tag upon completion of the course that reads junior humane officer.
The class will be offered on July 11 and July 18.
The pet photography class is all about getting the children to look at the world from a different perspective, Ms. Winikoff said.
"We focus on two things: composition and animal behavior. We try to get the kids thinking about taking photos from different angles and looking at the world differently rather than just standing straight ahead and snapping the shutter," she said.
Students are required to provide their own digital cameras and back up batteries.
The class will be offered on July 12 and July 19.
Pet first aid and CPR will be offered on July 22, dog care basics on July 9 and July 16 and cat care basics on July 10 and July 17.
Therapy dogs will be brought in to several of the classes offer and students will also be able to spend time with shelter cats, small animals and farm animals during the various classes, said Ms. Winikoff.
"The kids love moving around the shelter and meeting all of the animals," she said.
Participants must be within two months of their eighth birthday or older, up to 11 years old. Enrollments are on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information about the summer programs or other events at the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County, call (772) 388-3331 Ext. 18 or visit www.hsvb.org.