That time I attended the RSPCA Junior Crew program

Posted Aug 31, 2018
I’m Mia James, I’m 12 years old and over the school holidays I spent 5 days at RSPCA Qld's Wacol Animal Care Centre

I’m Mia James, I’m 12 years old and over the recent school holidays I wanted to do something a bit different. I asked my parents if they could enrol me in the RSPCA Junior crew program, knowing that I adored animals they said yes! 

On the 9th of April it was the first day of the program. I was so excited! We got in a room, sat down and we had a talk about what we are going to do on the first day. 

We had a tour around the Wacol RSPCA Animal Care Centre getting to know all the places and friendly people. After that we went to see two miniature horses called Charlie Brown and Prancer. We walked them around the huge yard, brushed all the dust off them and even cleaned the bottom of their hooves! That was something most people hadn’t done before!  

Then we went to the marketing office where we were split into two groups of 6, one of the groups got to make their very own badges! The other group went to the adoption centre and got to take videos and picture of the dogs and cats for social media! After about an hour of doing that we switched our activities.

The next day we split up in the morning, one group got to go to the domestic animal hospital (which was the group I was in). Before we went to the hospital we got to microchip a stuffed toy! When we got there we got into pairs and took part in separate activities. 

First, we went to the kitten room where they help kittens that are orphaned and too young to look after themselves. We got to see a two  week old kitten called Caesar, and helped to feed and hold him, we even helped him go to the toilet. 

Secondly, we went with vet Vicky to check out a dog named Jasmine! After that we went in with some kittens and hugged them while we cleaned their cages. Then we all got together again and watched some of the kitties be desexed. We also got to put them back in their beds while they were still asleep. Once the kittens were all back in their beds we went round and checked on all the cats and kittens that had already been desexed to see if they had gone to the toilet and if they had we cleaned out there beds for them.

The second group got to go down to the adoption centre and give the animal’s food and enrichment! Later in the week we transitioned. After morning tea we went to find out about fundraising and how we can help.

On the 3rd day it was reptile and wildlife hospital day! We split again into two groups of 6. 

The first group went to see some turtles! We took them out of there big pool and put them in a smaller one so they could eat. We then cleaned the leaves out of the turtle’s big pools. After that we swapped with the other group and went to the wildlife hospital where we got to check up on a possum, tawny frogmouth and a long necked turtle. We helped to clean healing wounds while they were under anaesthetic. We also got to name the tawny frogmouth - Royal, and the turtle - Bec after the vet! 

After all that fun we came together as a big group again and went to the blue tongue lizard enclosures and got into pairs, we were then given a lizard to look after, we took them to a big grass area where they could stretch their legs. Then we went back and each got a bearded dragon to let it rest in the sun.

On the 4th day we got to switch over from Tuesday! We split into 2 groups of six and 1 group got to go to the domestic hospital while the other group went to the adoption centre. In the adoption centre we cleaned the hallway before the public came so it would be nice and clean, then we went out the back and picked out new toys for all the dogs. We also got to fill up clean milk bottles with food for the dogs to try and get out and keep them busy during the day. 

After our time with the dogs we went to the cat area where we got to feed nervous cats with wet food and try to help them come out of there shell. Afterwards we went to visit the more confident cats and gave them a good brush. We then got to choose toys for both the nervous and confident cats to play with! 

After morning tea we went to have a look at what the Inspectorate & Animal Ambulance people have in their cars and the roles and responsibilities they have to help distressed animals. Then we got to see a doggo called Chuck and his owner, Carly who is the head of the doggy training school - RSPCA School for Dogs. We learnt how to clicker train a dog with force free training techniques.

On the last day we played with 4 week old kittens, Bolt and Blake. They were ADORABLE! We got to make toys for the dogs and cats of the RSPCA to play with while they were waiting for their fur-ever homes. We then got to visit the bird aviary where we helped to make food for the birds to find and “hunt” for like they would in the wild! 

After time with the birds went to play with a Guinea pig and 2 rats! We also learnt the importance in fostering animals and giving them a second chance in life. After that we went and played with the kittens in the back. Then we went to do completion activities, volunteering talk, career evaluation and graduation where we got a certificate and a little present.

I asked the girls and boy that came a very important question, what did you enjoy the most? Most of them said they loved everything, others said they loved the hospital and walking the reptiles, but I ADORED all of it!

The program taught me lots of interesting things I didn’t know before! I would definitely recommend this program for kids 10 to 15 that are animal lovers just like me!

I would like to thank the people who took their time into making this program and the people that give all these animals a second chance in life. THANK YOU!

Mia James
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