Many shelters are always looking for clever ways to raise money and educate people about shelter pets. The Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor has found a way to do both at once – they have Friday night pajama parties for kids to come watch a movie and hang out with the dogs and cats for a few hours. It’s hard to say who enjoys it more – the kids or the animals!
Karen Patterson, the director of humane education and volunteers created the Pets & Pajamas Movie Night after attending the National Humane Education Conference in 2012.
“I thought if it when I heard about another shelter (when I was at the national humane education conference) showing movies and thought that creating a ‘kids night out’ program would do well,” she said. “I knew I wanted to make it longer so that parents could have a night out for themselves, plus I wanted to add a bit of education. That’s how it ended up being a four-hour program.”
The event is held once or twice a month on Friday nights from 5-9 pm. It’s geared towards kids aged 5-11, and costs $35 for one child, but only $15 for each additional sibling. They’re encouraged to bring a pillow and a sleeping bag to lounge on as they munch on popcorn and enjoy an animal-themed movie. They will also be provided with vegetarian pizza for dinner, as well as lots of entertainment and snuggles from shelter pets!
HSHV also hosts Mew-vie Night, where for $7 apiece anyone is welcome to come watch movies featuring cats while they cuddle up with kitties in need of homes. And it doesn’t stop there! Big Cats Night Out is an adult-only event where people can enjoy wine or beer AND pet kitties while they watch a movie. Students have their own events, too – Cram with Kitties. Cats make the perfect study buddies, as petting them (and dogs, too, of course) has been demonstrated to lower stress levels.
Tonight’s Pets & Pajamas Movie Night is nearly sold out, but there will certainly be more in the future – the next one is on February 24th. To see all of their upcoming events, click here. We know our readers live all over the world, and obviously are unable to attend these events, but perhaps they will inspire you to encourage your local shelters to launch such fun programs. They’re an easy way to raise money for the animals’ care, and it gives the dogs and cats a chance to be doted on for at least a few hours a week. It may also lead to unsuspecting movie-goers falling in love with and adopting their snuggle buddy from that night.
“The part I always love the most is saying goodnight to the animals. The kids are all in their jammies, and we tiptoe around the shelter and say goodnight to the animals as well as pass out goodnight treats,” Karen explained. “The kids always say the sweetest things like, ‘I hope you are adopted tomorrow,’ and ‘I love you.’ It’s precious.”