RSPCA ACT wants kids to hold a sleepover to become better pet owners | HerCanberra

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RSPCA ACT wants kids to hold a sleepover to become better pet owners

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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that often, kids will want a pet but not the responsibility that comes with them.

After all, not many high schoolers are waking up on a frosty Canberra morning to take Fido for a brisk 5K around the neighbourhood (and honestly, I can’t blame them).

Yet, aside from the need for regular walks for dogs, there are plenty of things kids need to learn about the responsibility of owning a pet – and that’s where the RSPCA ACT’s new initiative steps in.

Sleep Out For Strays aims to educate children about keeping animals healthy, animal habits and tendencies and how to help animals in need.

The idea is to host a sleepover with your siblings, friends or family somewhere other than your bed (the living room or in a tent in the backyard, for example) and fundraise money for animals in need while learning about pet ownership through the program’s portal of educational videos and activities.

Free to participate in and taking place across the autumn school holidays this April, kids will be sent ‘insightful daily animal education lessons in the form of tasks, competitions, activities and even visits to our animal shelter’.

RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson explains that by fusing the concept of a sleepover with an educational element, kids can learn in a fun, innovative way.

“Educating a new generation of future pet owners in Canberra is a meaningful thing we can do, both for the animals and everyone in the ACT,” says Michelle.

“We want children to see the repercussions of animals who aren’t desexed, vaccinated, microchipped or cared for properly because that can be a powerful message, but we also want to show them how they can help and teach others.”

“The program also provides opportunities for children to fundraise for vulnerable animals and through these efforts to learn about the importance and benefits of giving, being part of something bigger and having the power to make a difference to an animal in need.”

“I think the idea of a sleepover is brilliant; getting classmates or friends to all camp out in their loungerooms together and watch animal movies all night, that sounds like a great night to me.”

“Of course, participants should sleep somewhere safe with supervision, so we want the whole family to sleep out for strays, camp out in a tent in the backyard, bake cookies, watch movies, make a night of it.”

Happening between 12 and 27 April, you can sign up to Sleep Out For Strays for free at All money raised from the event goes directly towards the RSPCA ACT animal shelter in Weston.

“It would be terrific to see Sleep Out For Strays become an annual event for schools, like the other fundraising challenges we’ve seen over the years,” adds Michelle.

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