Today the older two and I headed to a fab workshop at the Dogs Trust in Manchester. The centre is actually across from the gym that I go to and I see people walking the dogs a lot, so it was nice to get in and have a look around the site.
When we arrived we were introduced to Anna who then set about telling the children all about the Dogs Trust and got them thinking about some of the reasons such a place would need to exist. She was really engaging and the children really responded well to her.
We then got a tour of the centre. This started in the vet rooms where there was a lot of chat about why would a dog need to see a vet, as well as some of the veterinary care all dogs might need, eg: flea treatment, vaccinations, microchipping etc. Next, it was time to move to the exercise area, the grooming area then to see the kennels for puppies.
At each section, there was a lot of chatter about what the areas were used for and lots of questions asked of the children to see how much they’d remembered from earlier bits of the tour. We then go to have a walk past the kennels that had dogs in before heading outside to see the larger play and exercise areas.
The Manchester centre is home to the National Dogs Trust helpline and we got to have a look there too; they take an average of 1000 calls each day and in the short time we were there they had taken some twelve calls. They even have some days when there’s a dog in the call centre with them too!
After a short break, it was time to get onto a science-based workshop all about senses. This was done really well and all the children were really engaged and engrossed by this. We learnt about how dogs use their senses as well as ways to look after dogs too. After we’d explored the five senses we talked about how we should interact with dogs. This was really good for D and E as they’re both dog cautious after a nasty encounter last year where a dog jumped all over them. I don’t buy the whole ‘oh it’s only saying hello’ thing that many dog owners often trot out. I don’t want a dog jumping all over me and this particular dog was bigger than E and was jumping into the pushchair over H. It could have done some serious damage to any of them and it really knocked their confidence around dogs.
This section was really good and using a large toy dog they all got to have a go at greeting the dog in the correct way.
The children really enjoyed this workshop and it was also good for them to see the work that goes on behind the scenes.
You can read more about the work that Dogs Trust do here.