By Arden Moore
Walk into the Delray Beach Public Library between May 4 and May 10 and you may see it going to the dogs. It’s all done by design in an effort by pet-loving librarians on staff.
You see, the library’s mission goes beyond checking out books or helping you search for answers on the computers. Thanks to new technology, you can also operate a 3-D printer, participate in a recording session or head to the auditorium to watch a free movie at the library.
In celebration of Be Kind to Animals Week, you may spot a paw-painting Chihuahua or a poodle posing for a pet photographer, or catch a scent of peanut butter-bacon dog treats being prepared by a chef.
Going to the dogs — and cats and other animals — is a welcome event for Isabella Rowan, the library’s educational programs and volunteer manager and proud pet parent to a fine feline.
“The library is one place that people of all walks of life can come and for Be Kind to Animals Week, we are staging events to celebrate pets and animals of the world,” says Rowan.
In true librarian research fashion, Rowan did her homework about BKTAW, discovering that this designated week was started in 1915 by the American Humane Association.
“Be Kind to Animals Week is the longest-running humane campaign in America,” Rowan says. “Each year, it was been supported by presidents, movie stars and pet lovers.”
Rowan’s cat, Quito, is a gray-striped tiger with green eyes that Rowan says match hers. Don’t look for Quito, however, to make an appearance during the pet events scheduled at the library during this special week.
“Quito really doesn’t like people, but she is a true cuddler with me and loves to nuzzle me or sit on my desk when I work from home,” says Rowan.
Here is a rundown of what to expect at the library during Be Kind to Animals Week:
• 10 a.m.-noon, May 4: Paint ’n’ Paws. Look for tarps and art paper carefully taped in the library’s big meeting room. Between 10 a.m. and noon, you and your well-behaved dog under 35 pounds can test your artistic skills. Paws will be dipped in nontoxic, pet-safe paint, or pet parents will use foam brushes to create paw prints that may be suitable for framing. And, there will be a kiddie pool for the canine artists to rinse off their paws. This event is free, but you need to register by calling the library at 266-9490.
• 5-8 p.m., May 6: Barky Pines Animal Rescue and Sanctuary adoption event. Volunteers from this nonprofit group will bring kittens, cats, puppies and dogs in need of forever homes.
“Libraries are all about presenting people with information and opportunities,” says Rowan. “We are always looking for ways to be innovative and creative. You don’t expect to walk into the library and see a pet adoption, but how novel and how great is that!”
• 10-11:30 a.m., May 7: Canine cooking class. Chef Michael Walters of the Publix Aprons Cooking School in Boca Raton will demonstrate how to make yummy, no-bake dog treats. Look for recipes on how to make “chilly dogs” frozen treats, peanut butter-bacon treats and pumpkin biscuits for your canine pal.
• 9 a.m.-8 p.m., May 8: Pet portraits. Photographer/librarian Robyn Huff will bring her camera gear and backdrops to take stunning photos of your posing pet. Call Huff in advance at 266-0799 or email her at email@example.com to book your pet photo session.
• Starting at 2 p.m., May 9: Catch the movie Who Gets the Dog? starring Alicia Silverstone and enjoy free popcorn in the library’s auditorium. The movie runs 90 minutes.
• 4-5 p.m., May 10: Emergency preparedness pet session. The staff from Barky Pines will give you tips on basic pet care, following county pet licensing laws and how to keep your pet safe during natural disasters.
All of these events are free, but the library staff is asking that participants bring pet cleaning supplies, toys, harnesses, leashes, pet beds, pet food/treats and other items that can be donated to the Barky Pines group. For more information, contact Rowan directly at Isabella.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you planning a special way to celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week? Please post your activities in the comments section for this story at www.thecoastalstar.com.
Arden Moore, founder of FourLeggedLife.com, is an animal behavior consultant, author, speaker and master certified pet first-aid instructor. She hosts the “Oh Behave!” show weekly on PetLifeRadio.com. Learn more by visiting www.ardenmoore.com.