Pet Stories: Queen

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Queen came to the shelter with her litter of kittens. They have all been adopted, and now she's looking to start the New Year in her forever home.

Queen is just over a year old and looking for the right family to treat her like the royalty she is.

If you’re interested in adopting Queen, stop by the shelter today. The RVSPCA is closed on New Year’s Day.

For more information, call the Roanoke Valley SPCA at 339-WAGS, or .

And while Denise Hayes was in the studio talking with Caitlin Francis, she also shared some valuable tips about how children can get involved with taking care of family pets.

Here’s what she had to say:

How kids of all ages can be responsible for the family pet.

At this time of year many families choose to add pet to their household, but it's important that children of all ages learn that having a pet is a huge responsibility and it they are never too you to involve them in caring for the pet.

Children 0 to 3
Yes, even toddlers can help with pet care, though it's important that we as adults ensure their safety and that what they do is appropriate for their age. Kids under three can observe and learn positive pet responsibilities. It's important that they learn the appropriate way to meet a new pet, show to be respectful of a pet’s space and learn things like not to pull on them or bother them when they eat. While children this age are too young to participate in pet care they can be observing others who are caring for pets like talking to them at feeding time about where the pet food is kept or where the dog leash or cat litter scoop is located.

Kids this age are still too young to provide direct care, but they certainly are of the age where they want to be helpers or even do it themselves. Find creative ways to help include them. Scoop the cats food from the bag and give it to them to put in the bowl or consider adding a loop to the dogs leash so they can help walk the dog.

Early Elementary School
Kids this age can be supervised to feed pets and brush them if the pet is tolerant. In addition, kids this age could possibly learn to do some basic commands with their pets or work with a dog to play fetch.

Upper Elementary School
Kids in upper elementary grades are ready to start walking well behaved dogs on a leash and to learn the appropriate way to walk a dog. In addition, they are mature enough to learn the appropriate way to pick up after a dog uses the bathroom or to clean a cats litter box. It's important that we as adults teach them the appropriate ways to do these things hygienically and to be sure to clean up afterwards.

Middle School
By middle school, kids should be able to handle most aspects of pet care, depending on the pet. It's important to remember that all pets tolerate things differently and you should match the skills of the child to the pet. Now is a great time to take the kids to the vet with you when you take your pet to teach them about the need for annual pet health care visits and the expense of having a pet.