Friday, August 3, 2018

An exciting day for the cats of H.A.R.T. Animal Shelter and young readers of Raymond by Briana Bizier

This summer, Raymond Village Library partnered with H.A.R.T, the Homeless Animal Rescue Team
in Cumberland to benefit shelter animals and encourage reading over the summer. The children in the library’s reading program spent their July tracking how many books they read, or how many books were read to them. Each time the little readers brought their reading log to the library, children’s librarian Karen Perry would tally their books and award their “prizes.”

Those reading prizes were fun for kids and animals. The children were able to choose toys, treats, blankets, or medication for dogs and cats in animal shelters. Karen provided a blank name tag, and the children could draw or write their name and a message for the animals before taping the tag to the “prize” of their choosing.

Raymond Library’s summer reading program drew to a close last week, and this past Monday, July 30, the celebration went out with a bang! A big, yellow school bus met children and parents at the library in the morning, and the young readers, their parents, librarians Karen and Allison Griffin, and all the labeled toys and treats headed to the H.A.R.T. Animal Shelter in Cumberland.

Founded in 1997, H.A.R.T. is a shelter and adoption center for cats and kittens. The children were greeted by enthusiastic volunteers in the shelter’s brightly lit lobby, where a painted tree on the wall holds paper leaves with the names of all the kitties who have been happily adopted this year.

The little readers patiently posed for photos with the treats and toys they had earned over the summer, and they were rewarded with a tour of all four rooms at the H.A.R.T. shelter. Volunteers partnered with each group of children to explain a few of the finer nuances of cat etiquette while kids and kitties alike delighted in the laser pointers, balls, and fluffy feather toys. At the end of the tour, everyone enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade by the animal shelter, where the children were watched by a line of cats in the windows.

No kitties went home with the young readers on this trip, but the bus back to Raymond Library was filled with meows - only this time, it was the meows of children who had decided to spend the rest of their afternoon pretending to be shelter cats.

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