Teacher's Pet Program


Once a school has approved the Teacher's Pet Program, teachers are able to foster a small animal in their classroom with supplies provided to them by CMHS. Once approved to foster and the teacher has picked out an eligible small animal, the Small Animal Coordinator or other relevant staff visit the classroom with the teachers new “classroom pet” and review proper handling, grooming (nail trims, brushing), and cleaning procedures. A care sheet for that animal that is based off CMHS guidelines will be given to the teachers. This meeting can be with just the teacher or with the entire class. The teachers will be checked with every couple of weeks through email to see how the animal is going or any concerns the teacher may have. If a teacher requests additional classroom visits from CMHS staff or volunteers for education that can be worked out. Teachers will fill out a “report card” with their class on their pet, which will be available to adopters. 

The Program's Intent

  • Open up CMHS foster homes as more and more requests to surrender small animals are coming in, as we are the only open-door facility in Boone County that takes in and rehomes small animals. 
  • Teach kids how to properly interact with and care for small animals 
  • Teach students about what an animal shelter does
  • Socialize the small animal to prepare them for their forever home
  • Give exposure for the animal for adoption (students family, teacher, etc)

Eligible Animals

Ideally small animals that have been on the website for 2 weeks and have not had any applications for them. This will allow typical adopters to still have a chance to adopt them and allow shelter staff time to determine which animals are good candidates! 

“Classroom pets” can include:

  • Rabbits - preferably fixed  
  • Guinea pigs
  • Small rodents (Hamsters, rats, gerbils, ...) 

Reptiles and Birds if the  teacher has experience and an appropriate set up is able to be facilitated.

How Long Will Teachers Have Their Fosters?

However long they feel comfortable! Any time away from the shelter and receiving socialization is helping the adoptability of the animal. When the foster animal is first brought to the classroom, they will be taken off of the website for 2 weeks to allow the animal to settle in. After this time, unless the teacher or someone else has chosen to adopt their classroom pet, the animal will be put back on the CMHS website as available for adoption with a completed report card. Once adopted, the teacher can pick out a new pet, depending on the availability of small animals at that time. 

Report Cards are a premade template the teacher fills out once the animal has been in their classroom for 2 weeks -1 month. This can be in the animals paperwork or online for adopters.

Questions? Contact our Small Animal Foster Coordinator:

[email protected]