Putting More Pets in the Classroom

More than 210,000 elementary age school children have the chance to interact on a daily basis with a pet thanks to The Pet Care Trust. Pets in the Classroom, an educational grants program offered by The Pet Care Trust (PCT) to support responsible pet care for school classrooms, grew by leaps and bounds in 2011, awarding more than 7,000 grants of up to $150 each to eligible teachers in grades K-6.

According to PCT executive director Steve King, these results were quite satisfying. “The program slowly gathered momentum in its first fifteen months, with 3,500 grants awarded during that time. Then, beginning in August 2011, Petco and Petsmart partnered with the Trust to promote the program through their stores. Since then, the number of grants awarded has more than doubled.”

The goal of Pets in the Classroom is to establish healthy child-pet relationships at an early age by supporting responsible pet care in classrooms across the U.S. and Canada. Originally limited to grades K-6, the Trust has expanded the program in 2012 to include seventh and eighth grade classrooms as well.

Understanding that many teachers have limited resources to support classroom pets, the program helps teachers purchase or maintain pets in the classroom through direct, no-hassle grants.

Through a simple, online application process at http://www.petsintheclassroom.org, teachers can become eligible to receive grants of $50 to support existing classroom pets, or $100-$150 to purchase or adopt a new pet and required equipment. It is left up to the teacher to select the pet that is most appropriate for her/his classroom. There have been a wide variety of funding requests, from snakes and lizards to guinea pigs and rabbits, proving that many different species make interesting classroom companions.

Funding for Pets in the Classroom has come from the Pet Care Trust endowment along with contributions from various foundations and individuals, as well as Petco and Petsmart and their vendor partners. As it expands to reach more classrooms across the country, the program will rely on direct financial support from the pet industry. Pets in the Classroom welcomes support from corporate and individual donors through tax-deductible contributions to the Pet Care Trust.

For more information, visit http://www.petsintheclassroom.org.

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