Play­cen­tre pets go­ing places

Kapi-Mana News - - EDUCATION -

Ti­tahi Bay Play­cen­tre’s much loved guinea pigs were well trav­elled over sum­mer.

The pop­u­lar crit­ters, Spike and Patches, were hosted by eight Ti­tahi Bay fam­i­lies over a two-month pe­riod, as a means to en­sure they didn’t suf­fer the same fate as their pre­de­ces­sors.

As Kapi-Mana News re­ported at the time, two guinea pigs kept at the Play­cen­tre were re­moved from their cage and mauled by dogs in March last year. The preschool’s fam­i­lies spent a lot of time de­lib­er­at­ing whether to re­place the guinea pigs or adopt a dif­fer­ent kind of cen­tre pet.

‘‘The chil­dren all en­joyed the cud­dles and feed­ing of the guinea pigs and for many it was their only op­por­tu­nity to re­late to pets. Af­ter much con­sid­er­a­tion we de­cided that as none of our com­mu­nity could cope with los­ing more pets in such a cruel way we would need to take ex­tra mea­sures to en­sure our new guinea pigs were safe,’’ said Ti­tahi Bay Play­cen­tre pres­i­dent Loreena Daw­son.

A spe­cial cage, suit­able for trav­el­ling, meant they could be ac­com­mo­dated on lawns and in bed­rooms – safe from cats and dogs.

Some Play­cen­tre chil­dren and their older sib­lings even went so far as to cre­ate spe­cial runs for daily ex­er­cise ses­sions.

Luke Ma­dle, 2, said he loved hav­ing the ro­dent guests to stay.

‘‘He melted ev­ery time he looked at them,’’ said mum Ana Wel­ham. ‘‘ He did all the work for them. He was great at get­ting things out of the vege garden to feed them. We don’t have any pets so it was great to have them and pass them on.’’

Guinea pig co-or­di­na­tor Jude Pointon said many of Ti­tahi Bay Play­cen­tre’s chil­dren are lin­ing up to host Spike and Patches over the next hol­i­days.

‘‘The guinea pigs seem more rounded in life ex­pe­ri­ence and in the puku area fol­low­ing their hol­i­day, and as a re­sult have been get­ting more out of cage ex­er­cise in the safety of a trac­tor tyre and have had their food in­take from the Play­cen­tre garden more closely su­per­vised.’’

Bud­dies: Wes­ley Prescott, 3, shows guinea pig Patches some love.

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