How to wear out kids and pets together

It’s easy to forget your animal dependents when you’re so busy with your human ones, but there are a bunch of ways to get them on the same, active team. Epic naps ahead!

Photo by Russ.

I’ll be the first to admit that having a baby made spending more quality time with my pets more difficult. However, there are activities you can do with both a kid and a pet, or with your kid for your pet. Don’t own a pet? Not a dog or cat person, you say? Have no fear. I’ve got you covered.

Visit the puppies (and other animals up for adoption) at Fin & Feather Pet Center while you pick up supplies for your pet.

Located on Lakeside Avenue, Fin & Feather boasts being the oldest locally-owned pet store in Richmond. In addition to the great selection of pet food and treats, they’ve often got some very cute puppies, cats, and other small critters up for adoption. I happily admit that when my family purchased grubs for our hedgehog here, my reason for wanting to tag along was that there would be puppies to tickle. Now that my daughter’s FAVORITE BEINGS IN THE WORLD are dogs, I’m sure a pet-related errand to Fin & Feather won’t be one she’ll ever whine about.

Teach your dog to catch a frisbee so you can compete in an Appalachian Air Canines (AAC) event one day.

This activity can tire your kid and your pup out in one go! According to their site, “Part of the popularity of the sport is its accessibility. All that is necessary to enjoy it is a level grassy playing area, a dog, and a frisbee. Also, a little imagination is an extra plus for Freestyle. It is estimated that over one million dogs play frisbee in the United States alone, though only a small percentage participate in organized competitions.” Kathy Moore, AAC Trustee, told me that “kids may and are encouraged to compete. My eight-year-old twins have been playing all their life. We even give out Junior handler ribbons.” Membership is $25 for one person, or $40 for a family.

Get involved with the Richmond Audubon Society.

Dogs and cats not your thing? How about birds? The Richmond Audubon Society, named for John James Audubon1, has lots of activities for kids who want to get into birding. If you’ve got a tween, this might be a calm, unique way to spend a morning. Or maybe your whole family will discover this peaceful activity is just the thing to bring you together.

Give the dog a bath in the kiddie pool.

Full disclosure: I haven’t done this myself but it just seems like it would be a blast. Wet dog, wet kid, laughter, joy–nothing could possibly go wrong, and this is bound to be a pleasant, relaxing activity that you can all enjoy together. Warning: you might get wet on this ride.

Join the Animal Brigade at the Richmond SPCA.

You don’t have to own a pet to be part of the Animal Brigade, a club for middle schoolers (grades 6-8) that contributes time to the Robins-Starr Humane Center and learns about animal safety and care. If your kiddo wants to make a difference and has a helping heart, this might be just the thing. Dues are $20 and there is an application process. Spring 2016 applications are being considered at this time.

  1. A man whose portraits share a striking resemblance with Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. 
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Hayley DeRoche

Hayley DeRoche is a librarian with a penchant for cardigans and corduroys. Luckily, her professional life revolves more around technology & information than fashion.

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