Teaching Kids About Animal Rescue | By Kris O’Donnell

A new board game spotlights pet adoption in a fun, innovative way.

Meatball the dog and Spaghetti the cat are strays who are desperately trying to find their forever homes. In the meantime, they’re hoping some kind people will take them in and care for them while they’re waiting for that special day. Meatball and Spaghetti are actually fictitious, but the plight of the animals they represent is very real. They are among many characters in a new game called “Fur-Ever Home: The Animal Rescue Game.”

“What is the best way to solve this through something fun and that’s where the board game idea came from,” said Carianne Burnley, the developer of the game.

Burnley is on the board of her local humane society in Ohio and has worked in rescue for years. She says she decided to use her background in marketing and business to develop a fun way to address the issue of animal rescue. She came up with the idea about three years ago, and started to actually put those on paper about a year ago. And after a lot of hard work, the game was released in May.

“I want people to learn more about animal rescue,” Burnley said. “So, my goal would be to get at least a small percentage of people out there to choose animal rescue the next time they go get a pet.”

The overall goal of the game is pretty simple.

“The game is all about rescues and shelters working together to clear the strays of Straytown,” Burnley said. “Once the streets of Straytown are empty, all the players add up their points from animals in their forever homes.”

In the game, players select a rescue, choose the animals, hire a staff and raise money.

“You land on spaces and operate your rescue in accordance with the card that you pick at the beginning of the game,” Burnley said. “So, you can play a pound, which is the largest rescue in Straytown. You can play the humane society, the second largest and from there you have local rescues as well that are competing and they all have different priorities of how they run. You are running a rescue doing ninety nine percent of the tasks you would be doing with any rescue out there,” Burnley said.

There are sixteen different drawings or characters representing 80 cats and dogs, and players earn points based on the type of animal they have. For instance, a two-year-old Lab earns fewer points because the dog would be adopted quite easily. An older dog is tougher to adopt out but earns more points. Players also learn about purebreds.

“Twenty-five percent of the animals in the game are purebred, which is statistically the same as it is with animal rescues and shelters,” Burnley said. “Many people do not know that purebreds are in rescues or shelters.”

Kathy Tricomi is very familiar with the issues facing animal rescue organizations. She is the Development Director of the Humane Society of Broward County in Florida and has received the game. In an email she said she’s a big fan of the concept.

“This game is fun but yet very comprehensive of all of the aspects that are required to run an animal shelter,” Tricomi said. “The educational component is fantastic.”

Tricomi says her organization has used the game at its summer camp and for educational presentations.

“It lets children learn on their own that rescue organizations are the best option because there are cute adoptable animals that need their help,” she said. “In addition, it illustrates the cost factors that are involved and shows how rescue organizations are funded.”

The game retails for $29.99 and is available at Burnley’s website, petsapalooza.com. A portion of the proceeds from each game are given back to animal rescue groups.

Burnley says her ultimate goal for the game is simple.

“A small percentage of people choosing animal rescue will save a lot of animal lives,” she said. “To win even ten percent of the market would save millions of animals’ lives in a year and that’s my goal.”


About Gina Coleman

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.
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