Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pets in the Classroom

Easy Grant Opportunity:

Pet Care Trust Logo
Have you heard of the wonderful program called Pets in the Classroom?  At my science lead teacher meeting, a colleague told us about this wonderful program.  It's super easy and allowed me to get an amazing pet and pet habitat for my classroom.

How does it work?  Technically it is a grant - you fill out the online form online and within two weeks you will get notification in the mail. 

 There are four (4) grant types, including: 1- Rebate Grants in the amounts of $100 (for small animal or birds) or $150 (for reptiles or fish) for purchases at any pet store; 2- the Sustaining Grant in the amount of $50 to maintain an existing classroom pet; 3- Petco Grant, which provides coupons for the live animal, pet habitat and supplies purchased at Petco; and 4- a Petsmart Grant, which provides coupons for the live animal, pet habitat and supplies purchased at Petsmart.

I was lucky enough to be adopted by a parent in my class this year.  Instead of going through Adopt-a-Classroom which has so many stipulations, she donated the $500 in cash for me to use as I wish.  I asked the students what they wanted...and overwhelmingly they wanted a class pet. I had heard about this grant and knew that it would pay for a big chunk of the materials and I could use her money to pay the rest.

      Our school system has told us no animals with fur are allowed so my choices were limited.  These are the options you have to choose from:
       At Petco:  Hamster, Guinea Pig, Hermit Crabs, Fish, Bearded Dragon and Leopard Gecko.
       At Petsmart:  Hamster, Guinea Pig, Aquatic Turtle, Fish, Bearded Dragon, Snake, Fancy Rat and Leopard Gecko.

My students voted and picked to get a turtle.  When we were got the grant, we were given coupons - $90 off a Zilla Deluxe habitat (which had pretty much everything I needed) as well as $90 for supplies that the turtle would need:  water conditioner, rocks, fish, turtle food, wax for his shell, a bridge for him to climb from the water to the rocks and a night light. 

Let me just say...the turtle has the Taj Mahal of cages as my friend and parent in my class Anne said last night...I would NEVER have been able to purchase such a nice habitat on my own.  PetSmart had an associate named Janelle who walked me through the whole process.  She showed me the tank they had and how it was set up, what he liked to eat and how to clean the tank, when to change the light bulbs (he has a day light and a night light) and told me all about his personality.  He loves to dig in the rocks!!!

When I rang up at the cash register, the total cost was $275.  The grant paid for $180 and my adoption money paid for about $88.  I tell you this because I don't want you to be shocked that you may have to pay something extra.  There are stipulations - for example I had to buy the expensive tank ($174 with $90 off).   Some of my colleagues have asked for school funds to pay the balance and not all are as much as the turtle was. 

Our turtle, named Squirtle by the students, is a male African Side neck turtle who is six months old.  He will live for 15 -25 years (hopefully).  I brought him home and set up the tank to get used to it myself over the weekend.  Monday, he will meet the classmates.  Stay tuned!

The money is provided by the Pet Care Trust which is based in Maryland. 

For more information go to


  1. Wow, that is really helpful information! I had no idea that such a thing existed! Thank you so much for sharing that!
    Heidi Butkus

  2. Thanks SO much for the information! I applied and was awarded a grant for my K-4 Enrichment room! I'll be picking up my rat over Winter break! Can't wait! Thanks for doing what you do!
    Joanna in MA