Looking after our pets is important
by Helen Redfern (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to appreciate how important pets are and that we have to look after them well.
Preparation and materials
You will need a leader and five readers.
Optional: you may wish to include props such as a dog lead, pet toys and fish food.
Leader: Many people in the UK own pets.
Ask for a show of hands to find out how many children have a pet at home.
Over eight million dogs and seven million cats are kept as pets in the UK. Maybe you have a cat or a dog, or maybe you have a more unusual pet. Let’s listen to some descriptions of pets.
Reader 1: I have a dog called Troy. He’s a Dalmatian and he’s nearly as big as me. He’s very friendly and loves playing with me.
Reader 2: We have an aquarium that has tropical fish in it. They’re very colourful. My favourite is the clownfish that looks like Nemo. I call him Bubbles because he blows bubbles.
Reader 3: My cat, Jess, is ginger and very fluffy. When I open the back door and call her name, she always comes running.
Reader 4: I have four gerbils and I love watching them play. They are all girls. They have long tails and they can run very fast.
Reader 5: I have a black-and-white rabbit called Gizmo. She eats carrots.
Leader: We keep pets because it’s fun, but pets are actually very good for us. There are many good reasons to keep a pet.
Reader 1: When I take my dog for walks, I get a lot of exercise. It makes my dog and me have a lot of energy. We have to go out in the fresh air, even when it’s cold or rainy. It’s good to get lots of fresh air.
Reader 2: It’s good to learn how to care for a pet. Our fish have to have exactly the right amount of the right food at the same time every day. If I don’t feed them, they will die. I’ve had to learn how to care for my fish.
Reader 3: My cat, Jess, is my best friend in the world. When I’m sad, she comes to me and I stroke her. It makes me feel better. She sleeps on my bed so that I’m not lonely. I tell her all my secrets.
Reader 4: You can have lots of fun with your pets. I like to design and make new things for my gerbils to play with. It makes me feel proud when I make something that they enjoy playing with.
Reader 5: You have to be kind to your pets and not hurt them. I try to be very gentle with my rabbit. I don’t like making her scared. I think being kind to your pets helps you to be nice to other people.
Leader: Pets are good for us, but we need to be good to our pets, too. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, known as the RSPCA, teaches people how to look after animals. According to the RSPCA, every pet has five welfare needs that have to be met.
Number 1 is Environment. It is your responsibility that your pet has a safe place to live and sleep.
Reader 1: When our dog first came to us, we had to check that the garden was safe and that Troy couldn’t escape. He has a basket in the kitchen to sleep in.
Leader: Number 2 is Diet. It is your responsibility to make sure that your pet has the right food and drink.
Reader 2: When I was small, I had a goldfish. One day, I thought it would be a treat for my goldfish to have some chocolate, so I dropped the chocolate into the water. When I came back later, the goldfish was dead. Now I know that I have to feed my fish properly.
Leader: Number 3 is Behaviour. It is your responsibility to teach your animal to behave properly.
Reader 3: When Jess came to us as a tiny kitten, we had to teach her to use the litter tray. She also now knows that she is not allowed to scratch the sofa or bring mice into the house.
Leader: Number 4 is Company. It is your responsibility to make sure that your pet is not lonely.
Reader 4: My gerbils need each other to play with, and they need me to make interesting toys for them so that they don’t get bored. Because I pick up my gerbils every day, they trust me and they like being handled.
Leader: Number 5 is Health and Welfare. It is your responsibility to make sure that your pet is kept in good health.
Reader 5: If we think my rabbit is not well, we take her to the vet. Sometimes, the vet gives her medicine to take or an injection. The vet thinks that Gizmo is a very healthy rabbit.
Leader: Many people believe that God created animals for us to enjoy them and that God wants us to look after them.
Time for reflection
Leader: Think about the pets that you have, or that your friends and family have. Just think how much they give to us!
Thank you for all the wonderful animals in the world.
We thank you especially for our pets.
They make us so happy.
They teach us so much.
Help us to look after our pets.
Help us to be kind and loving to all of your creatures.
We thank you for the RSPCA who rescue many animals from danger.
‘All things bright and beautiful’ (Come and Praise, 3)
‘If I were a butterfly’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 241, 2008 edition)