By Tallie Gray and Kim Bunning
My son’s seventh birthday wish was for a leopard gecko. Having never had a reptile, I asked for his second-most-wanted pet to compliment his goldfish tank. “A snake,” was eagerly vocalized. The next day, we ventured to Denver where we bought a cage, a heat lamp, calcium-enriched sand, crickets, a book on how to care for our new pet, and Josh, a live two-month-old leopard gecko.
Looking back on that experience, along with agreeing to take in a Chihuahua-Beagle stray a few months later, my big takeaway is that one should always read the book about the creature in question before acquiring the pet.
National Love Your Pet Day is February 20. Let Grand County Library District (GCLD) help you learn more about your potential pets as well as those who already live with you, and the unique relationships we humans have with them.
Our list of resources includes fiction and nonfiction books for all ages and contains titles about conventional pets as well as exotic pets and animals in general. GCLD’s Reminiscence Kits include laminated photos, information, and activities for engaging dialog pertaining to animals and are useful to help gauge the readiness of young ones in caring for a pet.
Online resources are available 24/7. Explore Universal Class for free classes on pet care and dog walking or download a Hoopla eBook on how to train and care for just about any animal.
GCLD also encourages you to get outside with your dog! Check out a dog backpack and let your pet carry their own treats, water, and waste. Or make treats or soap in the shape of dog paws using our unique paw-shaped silicone molds, along with a book, such as “Cool Pet Treats: Easy Recipes for Kids to Bake” by Pamela S. Price.
Several pet owners were excited to share their experiences as to how libraries have helped with their animals:
“When I was younger, I caught a toad and read some library books about amphibian care. The books didn’t talk about what to do when the toad jumps under our house.” – Anonymous
“I used to catch crickets when I was a kid. I still remember reading in a library book that I should give them water by soaking a cotton ball and putting it in their habitat. I also remember that they liked peanut butter and apples.” – Tess
“When I decided to welcome a Doberman Pinscher puppy into my family, I checked out a couple books about the breed and learned so, so much! Not just care and training information, but I also learned about the breed’s history and purpose.” – Leslie
“Bruin was my search and rescue dog that I adopted from the Boulder Humane Society. While he was training with the Grand County Search and Rescue Dog Team, I was checking out books at the library to complement the training he was getting out in the field. One of my favorites was “The Loved Dog: The Playful, Nonaggressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior” by Tamar Geller, available at the Fraser Valley Library! You can also see Bruin if you check out our new Pet Reminiscent Kit, as he is one of the five featured pets from Grand County!” – Jeannette
However you decide to celebrate pets, GCLD is here to help!