Adopting Classroom Pets
July 28, 2009
“My classroom animals make even reluctant students want to engage. I’ve found that fostering classroom pets rather than owning them is the way to go. I have an arboreal salamander, an Oregon alligator lizard, three parakeets and two corn snakes, but the best are my foster rabbits. Instead of taking on ownership, I've arranged with a local foster group to house rabbits who are awaiting adoption.
“The rabbits receive full medical care from the group, and the foster group gave me all the set-up equipment I needed. The rabbits range from babies to adults, and I have them usually for several weeks or months, sending them back to the organization on adoption fair weekends. When one gets adopted, I get another that same day. I keep them in my classroom in a large cage, but most of the school day, the rabbits are running in a fenced in play area within my classroom. They easily litter-box train, and I keep a small shop vacuum nearby for any stray straw that escapes their pen. And, no, they don’t smell.
“This arrangement works well because I can turn down a rabbit if a school vacation is coming up. The rabbits teach students about taking care of animals as well as the whole concept of abandoned or poorly chosen pets and the need to provide homes for the animals already in our midst.”