The Official Houston SPCA Humane Education Blog

Teaching us about our animal friends


Summer’s here and so is the Houston SPCA’s Critter Camp!

Right about now the temperatures in Houston are rising and you know what that means – it’s time for Summer Critter Camp!

As the first week of Critter Camp comes to an end we thought we would take a look at all of the fun we had – check out all of the amazing activities we did below!

This session of Summer Critter Camp was in partnership with Easter Seals of Greater Houston – an organization that works with mentally and physically disabled children. Our partnership gives Easter Seals campers an opportunity to attend local summer camps that their parents might not feel comfortable sending them to without someone to help their camper out with all of the camp activities. During this special session of Critter Camp, Easter Seals volunteers, known as ‘buddies,’ are assigned to each Easter Seals camper to help them have the best experience at our Critter Camp.

All of our Critter Campers learned so much about animals this week and got to play with lots of adorable, adoptable pets from the Houston SPCA!

We have many different sessions of Critter Camp still available for your campers – see more info below:

2015 Camp Schedule 2015 Description Picture

 

To register, head over to www.HoustonSPCA.org today!

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Looking for some Summer FUN? How about the Houston SPCA Critter Camp!

camp button

 

Never heard of Critter Camp? 

Critter Camp is the Houston SPCA’s day camp available during summer, winter and spring break. Each day from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, campers ages 8-15 can come to the Houston SPCA to learn all about animals, hear from the Houston SPCA’s amazing staff, play fun animal games, create arts and crafts, and, last but not least, spend time playing with our adoptable shelter pets!

Let’s jump in and see what a typical Critter Camp day looks like!

9:00 am – Campers arrive at the Houston SPCA and begin meeting new friends, playing fun games and learning about animals.

Foster ProgramFoster care coordinator shows campers a foster kitten

9:30 am – Our first guest speaker session! Our guest speakers are staff that work in a variety of departments at the Houston SPCA. Some of our amazing guest speakers include our animal behavior specialists, animal cruelty investigators, rescue ambulance team members, foster care coordinators, and veterinarians. Each guest talks about what they do for the Houston SPCA, the educational background needed to obtain their position, stories about their favorite animal experiences, and why they love to help animals every day.

10:00 am – Lesson about animals. We have a variety of themes for our camps that include lessons about many topics relating to animals. These topics include animal behavior, basic animal care, anatomy and physiology of pets, Texas wildlife, and much more. These lessons include fun games or activities to keep our campers interacting and engaged.

Easter Seals Petting HorseTommy the Llama 110:30 am – Barn Visit! Did you know that the Houston SPCA has its very own barn where we house many equines and farm animals? Our campers get to visit the barn and meet some of our horses, pigs, goats and any other animals that might be residing there at the time. Many of these animals have been rescued from cruel situations and campers learn about the rehabilitation process the animals will go through before they can be adopted into a new family.

SPCA TShirt Toy

11:00 am – DIY craft time. At Critter Camp we love to teach our campers how to create items that can help animals. Every day we create items that can be donated to our animals (or taken home for their family pet) or that teaches them more about animals. Some of my favorites include T-Shirt Tug Toys for dogs, birdseed feeders for our native wildlife and decorated savings banks for campers to save money to donate to their favorite charity.

11:30 am – Lunch time. During lunch we put on fun animal-related movies for our campers to watch. This gives everyone a chance to relax as the day goes by so fast!

Camper getting kissesCritter Camp Chronicle Pic

12:00 pm – SHELTER VISIT!!  This is our campers favorite part of the day. Everyone in camp goes over to the Houston SPCA animal shelter and gets to play with our large dogs, small dogs and cats. Our animal interactions are in a group setting so that each animal we play with gets lots of campers to love on.

Metro K-9 visit 1

METRO Houston Police Canine Program visits Critter Camp

1:30 pm – Second guest speaker session. We have another guest speaker join us in the afternoon. They will either be another Houston SPCA staff member or a very special visitor! We work with local service animal organizations who love visiting our camps to show our campers how amazing animals can be.

Oil Spill Art

Campers create ‘oil paint art’ while learning about oil spill clean-up 

2:15 pm – More DIY crafts or game time. Our campers can decide if they would like to learn how to create new DIY crafts or if they would like to play games, play with puzzles, visit our arts stations they can do so.

2:45 pm – Snack time and parent pick-up. Campers are given a bottle of water and a healthy snack in the afternoon. Campers can choose if they would like to watch an animal video or play games / do craft activities while waiting for their parents to come.

3:00 pm – End of our busy Critter Camp day!

Sign up today for our Summer Critter Camp!

Register here: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/humane_education_critter_camp

Looking for our Summer Critter Camp schedule? Look no further: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/DocServer/2015_Camp_Flyer__schedule_and_registration_info_.pdf?docID=3961 

Have questions about Critter Camp? Check out our FAQ’s: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/DocServer/Critter_Camp_Frequently_Asked_Questions_Updated.pdf?docID=3701 

Summer Critter Camp registration begins March 25, 2015!

 


Houston SPCA Critter Camp 2014 Comes to a Close

As the last week of Critter Camp comes to an end, let’s take a look at two of our brand new sessions we introduced this summer to teach our campers even more about animals!

For campers interested in how the Houston SPCA rescues animals on a daily basis, ‘Operation Rescue’ was the perfect camp session to pick! Each day of Operation Rescue had its own theme including: oil spill awareness, pet first aid, animals that rescue people, natural disaster preparedness and animal cruelty prevention. Campers were able to take home knowledge that they could use on a regular basis to keep their pets safe and their community aware of various events that could affect animals.

While learning about how wild animals are affected by oil spills, our campers were introduced to the chemical properties that oils have including being less dense than water. The campers used this knowledge to create fun artwork. After dropping small amounts of thinned oil paint into a tin of water, the campers could ‘float’ a piece of paper on top of the water to create a marbleized pattern!

Oil Spill ArtTo learn about pet first aid and the importance of knowing when to take your furry family member to the veterinarian, the Houston SPCA Critter Camp team welcomed a pet first aid expert who taught our campers basic pet first aid skills that they could share with their family and friends.

Campers with First Aid

All of our critter campers are dedicated to helping stop animal cruelty and neglect in their communities. They were very excited to meet one of our Animal Cruelty Investigators as seen on Animal Cops: Houston! Our investigator described the tools she uses on a daily basis to help rescue animals in need, the procedures investigators have to follow when a case is reported and how animals are taken care of when brought to the Houston SPCA after being rescued.

Cruelty Investigator Vehicle Tour

The ‘Operation Rescue’ camp session ended each week with a visit by our friends from the Houston METRO Police Canine Program. These officers and their canine partners help keep people safe around Houston on a daily basis and were so kind to donate their time to our camp! Our critter campers were given a demonstration on how canine police officers can track different scents and alert their partners to danger.

Metro K-9 visit 2

Metro K-9 visit 1

Every summer, the Houston SPCA Critter Camp has hundreds of campers attend our camps who want to become veterinarians when they grow up. This new camp session was the best summer pick in Houston for any and all children who want to be a vet – the Houston SPCA’s VetCAMP! These sessions focused on teaching campers about animal anatomy and physiology, how to apply to veterinary school, common animal illnesses and what a veterinarian does on a daily basis.

Every day during VetCAMP, the Critter Campers were able to speak with members of our veterinary staff about veterinary science and medicine. At the end of the week, each Critter Camper was able to ‘apply’ (through an educational relay race) to be an honorary Houston SPCA Veterinarian!

VetCAMP Final

During their ‘final exam’ campers labeled bones and organs in their favorite animals, identified foreign objects in animal radiograph examples, created their own ‘surgical tool’ using craft materials, and used that surgical tool to perform ‘surgery’ on a shoe-box!  Our campers learned so much during VetCAMP and we can’t wait until next year’s sessions!

Summer Critter Camp 2014 has been amazing! If your children missed out on this fun and educational experience, keep checking our website for updates on Winter Critter Camp 2014 and Spring Break Critter Camp 2015!

To find more information about the Houston SPCA’s Critter Camp, check out our website: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/humane_education_critter_camp  


The Houston SPCA Summer Critter Camp Is Back!

The Houston SPCA’s Summer Critter Camp 2014 is in full swing and our campers are having an AMAZING time learning all about animals, giving to the community, what to do to help animals in bad situations, and all about the Houston SPCA. Did I mention that our campers get to play with our adorable adoptable shelter animals every day?!

During the first week of Critter Camp, we partnered with Easter Seals and had a whole bunch of brand new campers join us for a week of learning all about the animals! If you have never heard of Easter Seals before, they are an outstanding organization that helps people of all ages with disabilities in the Greater Houston area.

Our Easter Seals campers worked very hard to design their very own LEGO animal shelter.

Easter Seals LEGOS

We also had a visit from a local animal therapy group – everyone got to play with these beautiful animals who work hard to help people be happier and healthier!

Easter Seals Camper Pet Dog

We all visited the barn and were able to spend time with some of our adoptable farm animals and horses like the miniature horse below.

Easter Seals Petting Horse

The week went by so quickly and we had so much fun!

 

This year at Critter Camp we have brand new camp sessions that teach our campers about different, important animal-related topics.

Our ‘Voice for the Voiceless’ camps have been all about helping our community and making sure all animals are taken care of properly. Here are just a few highlights of this camp session:

To help our animal friends in the wild, our campers made bird feeders out of pine cones — up-cycling at its best!

Easter Seals Camp Birdfeeder

Each year, the campers love being able to express their creativity and this year we had each camper ‘re-design’ the Houston SPCA logo. I love them all so much!

Camper Artwork 3 Camper Artwork 2

Our campers wanted to make something for the animals at the Houston SPCA that would help them have fun outside this Summer. We worked very hard and were able to make brand new agility-equipment for our small dogs to play with!

Camper building agility equipment

And, of course, everyone’s favorite part of the day is playing with the animals! Each day, our campers spend time with our cats, small dogs and large dogs.

Camp Petting CatCamp Petting Dog Camper getting kisses

There is still time to sign-up for the Houston SPCA’s Summer Critter Camp, and stay tuned for updates on our other two new sessions available this year – Operation Rescue and VetCAMP!

For more information or to register for Summer Critter Camp 2014, click here: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/humane_education_critter_camp


Spring Break Critter Camp Wrap Up!

Hello to all of the Houston SPCA fans out there!

It has been a little while but we are back in action after a fantastic week of Spring Break Critter Camp. This year our Spring Break Critter Camp focused on learning about animals care, how kids can help out animals shelters, and the importance of giving back to the community. Here are just a few of the fantastic activities our campers participated in…

All of the adorable adoptable animals at the Houston SPCA have their photos taken to be put on the http://www.HoustonSPCA.org website so prospective new families can check out which animals might be best for their homes. We wanted our animals to look extra-special in their photos so our campers created bowties for them to wear! Here are a few of our Dapper Dogs and Classy Cats:


bowtie 3 bowtie 4bowtie 7

To make the bowties, we followed these instructions – they are super easy to do and so much fun!

08_ChicSprinkles_Bowtie

Our campers also wanted to help our furry friends get adopted into new families extra fast so they decided to make fun bandanas for the animals to wear:

7

All of our campers this Spring Break wanted our cats and kittens to have their very own blankets to snuggle up with so we learned how to make fleece tie blankets! They were so easy to do and we already have a few cat friends who love their new blankets!

SNUGGLE STATUS

To make these blankets, we just followed these instructions:

fleecetiedbl-st1

During camp we learned how important it is to play with your pets every day to help them build strong muscles, exercise, and stay mentally challenged. To help out the dogs at the Houston SPCA, we made them some really tough rope toys by recycling donated t-shirts! That way we are re-using materials and making something fun and ecologically friendly.

Here’s how we did it:

SPCA TShirt Toy

Our favorite part of camp is definitely playing with the animals and our campers were able to do so with some of our best animal friends:

3 12 2 1

 

Did your camper miss out on the Spring Break Critter Camp experience? Do not worry because Summer Critter Camp registration is now OPEN! To sign up, follow this link: Summer Critter Camp

 

We hope to see you this summer at the 2014 Houston SPCA Summer Critter Camp!

 

 


Houston SPCA Winter Critter Camp Wrap-Up

Welcome to 2014 fellow animal lovers!

We hope you had a wonderful holiday with friends and family! As we start the new year, let’s take a look at all of the fun we had during the Houston SPCA’s Winter Critter Camp!

Campers from all over the Houston area came to the Houston SPCA to enjoy spending time with our adoptable animals, learn important lessons about keeping our animals safe and happy, hear from some fantastic guest speakers, and so much more.

Take a look at what our campers were able to do while spending their winter break at the Houston SPCA:

Winter Critter Camp General Activities

This year our campers did fun winter-themed arts and crafts, created toys and blankets for our shelter animals, enjoyed presentations from the Houston SPCA veterinarians, behavior specialists, foster care program, and client care, and were able to see our adoptable shelter pets each day!

Winter Critter Camp Save Spend Give

Every day our campers learned an important animal-related lesson. Our spend-save-give boxes helped show our campers how important it is to not only save money for the future but to give money to causes that they care about. We could not have made these without the generous donations of shoe boxes from our fans. Thank you!!

Winter Critter Camp Animal Interaction Picture

Our favorite part of the day was spending some quality time with our adoptable shelter animals. Our campers played with cats, dogs, and even spent some time with our adoptable farm animals.

Thank you to all of our guest speakers who were able to come and speak to our campers including the METRO Canine Police Department and animal assisted therapy group.

Keep on the lookout for our Spring Break Critter Camp and Summer Critter Camp!

To learn more about the Houston SPCA’s Critter Camp program click (here)

To donate to the Houston SPCA’s Critter Camp program, check out our Amazon.com wish list (here)!


Houston SPCA Winter Critter Camp Filling Up Fast!

Cat and Dog with Santas Claus hats

Are you looking for the perfect holiday gift for your little critters? The Houston SPCA is holding their annual Winter Critter Camp during your school’s holiday break! Have your campers come on over and learn all about animals and interact with the Houston SPCA’s adoptable shelter pets!

The Winter Critter Camp is a pay-per-day camp in which there will be guest speakers from the Houston SPCA, winter-time crafting, visits to our animal shelter, lessons about animal care and safety, and much more! Each day will have different experiences that your campers do not want to miss!

Dates: December 23, 26, 27, and 30 and January 2 and 3

Time: 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Price: only $85 per day – all craft supplies as well as an afternoon snack and drink included!

Location: Houston SPCA’s Annex Building, 7007 Katy Road Houston, TX 77024

We hope to see your campers there!

Happy Holidays!!

To register, click the Winter Critter Camp poster below!

Winter Critter Camp 2013 Web Page Ad