15 April 2021

RSPCA WA is encouraging parents of little animal lovers to sign them up to become a Junior Rescue Officer these school holidays.

The fun and engaging program teaches young children how to care for, respect and help animals in their own homes, neighbourhoods, and in shelter environments.

Junior Rescue Officers receive a Paw Points Handbook, which lists tasks they can complete throughout the year to earn their certification (these are all social distancing friendly!).

Tasks include making an enrichment toy for a shelter animal, leaving water out for wildlife on a hot day, writing a note to thank volunteers who help out at RSPCA WA’s shelter, and more.

During the school holidays, Junior Rescue Officer membership has been discounted to $30, including postage. Membership includes an ID Badge, cute RSPCA JRO teddy, a copy of RSPCA’s Animania magazine, and the Paw Points handbook, plus other goodies.

Junior Rescue Officers can expect three letters from RSPCA WA Inspectors throughout the year, keeping them up to date on animal welfare issues in WA, as well as a birthday card to help celebrate their day.

Once all Paw Points are signed off by a parent or guardian, Junior Rescue Officers will receive a completion certificate, a special gift, and a shout-out on RSPCA WA’s social media.

The program is open to children of any age, but may appeal most to those aged 5-12. 

Sign up here

RSPCA WA Junior Rescue office with Inspector Kylie taking an oath to protect animals.Ten-year-old Lou (pictured right, with Inspector Kylie) was RSPCA WA’s first certified Junior Rescue Officer – ticking off all her Paw Points in just six months.

Her mum, Caroline, said Lou became interested in animal welfare after the family rescued their dog, Jay, from a shelter last year.

“She wanted to do something, anything, to help rescue animals, but knew she was too young to volunteer,” Caroline said.

“She looked on the RSPCA’s website for a course or a class that she could attend and came across the Junior Rescue Officer program. She was so excited and begged me to sign her up.”

Caroline said completing some of the trickier Paw Point tasks helped boost Lou’s self-esteem.

“When she gave the more challenging tasks a go, and stuck with it, she surprised herself at how capable she was,” Caroline said.

“She learnt to ask for help, and take herself out of her comfort zone to contribute to a cause larger than herself. She gained so much confidence as a result and took such pride in doing each task well.”

On top of the Paw Point Handbook, Lou also created her own tasks to care for her dog, Jay. She taught Jay some basic agility skills, like how to jump through a hoop, and learnt to take his temperature, heart rate, and check his eyes and teeth.

Caroline said a highlight of the program for Lou was seeing the pictures she’d drawn for the animals and volunteers on display at the shelter, and seeing the RSPCA WA cats playing with her homemade enrichment toys.

“It was so valuable for her to contribute in a meaningful way to such an important cause and it has set her up to become a volunteer when she is older,” Caroline said.