PETALING JAYA – Children need to be instilled with the right information on being a responsible and compassionate pet owner from the tender age in order to avoid cases of pets being abandoned, said a global pet care company .
Mars Petcare Country Director for Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines Ong Chiek Ming said that it was important to instill a sense of responsibility and the right mindset in children in taking care of pets when they are still young.
“It’s very disheartening each time you see animals being abandoned merely because the children or pet owners don’t understand the method of taking care of pets and the commitment involved. The key is to make sure education starts from young,” she told reporters at the ‘Jom Sayangi Haiwan Kita’ programme held at Sekolah Kebangsaan Seafield 3 here, recently.
The programme was held by the company in collaboration with the school to promote understanding on the importance of responsibility towards pets and was started since 2015.
This global initiative aims at raising awareness on the importance of taking care of pets, particularly cats among school children aged 10 to 12 years.
Beginning with 15 schools in the Klang Valley, the programme has been extended to Penang, Perak and Johor whereby the effort would reach more than 66,000 children by end of May.
Through such interactive session, Ong said that it also encourages little ones to be more nurturing and compassionate towards others when they grow older.
“I believe that the little nuggets of interesting facts shared with the school children included that cat’s whiskers can detect heat and obstruction in darkness, and the effects of food on their overall health.
“Once they understand the commitments, it would allow the children to provide proper care for animals and would thus able to reduce pets from being abandoned,” she said.
She also said that a being responsible pet owner would certainly strengthen family bonds and cultivate good habits since young would remain into adulthood besides creating loving and comfortable world for pets.
Meanwhile, Sekolah Kebangsaan Seafield 3 Headmistress Nik Suhaida Razak said that inculcating such knowledge and bond between children and animals also provided a stress relief therapy after going through hectic days in schools especially during the examination period.
“Not only that, it also proves to strengthen family bonding… I have seen tremendous changes in my family members,” said Nik Suhaida who owns a Persian cat.
The mother of four children said that the presence of the cat had given her family a new way to come out from depression due to her husband’s death a few years ago.
“My son was very sad and my other kids were studying in boarding school, so the bonding was not so good until we found our cat, Molly who strengthened our relationship back to normal,” she said.
As such, she also said that it was vital for children to learn to be responsible pet owners which eventually would benefit them.