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Education Programs

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Since our early years as this community’s safe haven for stray and unwanted animals, PHS/SPCA has emphasized education. In fact, we were among the first humane societies, nationwide, to establish a humane education program and hire staff specifically for this vital work.  While our Humane Education Department directs and delivers a range of programs, we consider employees from all departments - adoption counselors, officers, behaviorists and veterinarians - to be educators.  Please take a minute to learn about our offerings.

To sign up or request more information about any of the following programs, please contact the Humane Education Department:

Kylynn Pelkey, Humane Educator
650-340-7022 ext. 369 or

Tanya Nori, Humane Education Coordinator
650-340-7022 ext. 308 or

art by Isabel

Animal Camp 2017

Our summer camp is an intensive learning experience for 8-13 year-olds. We emphasize responsible pet care and foster children’s understanding and concern for all species. Guest speakers bring a variety of pets for the campers to meet. Besides meeting different pets, camp activities include visiting our Wildlife Center, practicing dog training, playing pet-related games, and learning about current animal-welfare issues. We will be offering five sessions of camp for two different age groups:

  • June 12 - June 16 (ages 8-10)
  • June 26 - June 30 (ages 11-13)
  • July 10 - July 14 (ages 8-10)
  • July 24 - July 28 (ages 11-13)
  • August 7 - August 11 (ages 8-10)

Camp runs from 9:00am-2:30pm.

Enrollment is limited to first-time participants. There is a $350 camp fee. Applications will be made available March 1st. To complete and submit an application, please click here:

Classroom Presentations

PHS/SPCA will send a humane educator to schools within San Mateo County for a grade-appropriate talk. Presentations focus either on the basic needs of companion animals or on local wildlife. There is a suggested donation of $20. Companion animal speakers bring a well-behaved dog along. Classroom presentations must be arranged in advance, and teachers are provided with supplemental activity sheets for their students.

Humane Helpers

This afterschool program for 8-12 year-olds is held every Tuesday, from 4:00-5:00pm, October-May. Students will gain hands-on experience in the shelter environment, participate in animal welfare discussions and learn about different animals and their care. The group completes a variety of different service projects and each participant will gain 30 minutes of community service per session. There is a $10 fee per 1 hour session. All program materials are included. Advanced registration is required. To sign your child up for Humane Helpers, please register here.

Humane Officer Program

This experience is specially designed for high school students who want to explore a career in Animal Rescue & Control. Participants have the chance to learn how officers assist both animals and people; find out what skills are essential in this line of work; check out equipment used on the job and hear about actual rescues in our community; get a sense of how evidence is collected for humane investigations; and discover ways teens can help animals too! Space is limited and students must sign up in advance. No charge, however a $15 donation is suggested. A session is offered in May and in October.

PEP Talks

PEP Talks (Pet Education Program) are adult and family education programs scheduled several times a year. These vary from informative lectures to hands-on classes to drop-in learning events. Upcoming events are featured on our website.

Pet Camp

A winter mini-camp for 9-12 year-olds interested in learning about pet care and exploring ways to be kind to companion animals.  Campers meet a few animal guests, tour the adoption center and make holiday treats.  This single day program is offered twice during school break.  Enrollment is limited and there is a $45 fee. Please request a flyer and application in the fall.

Shelter Tales

Shelter Tales offers children ages 8-12 the opportunity to earn community service hours by reading to shelter dogs at our Lantos Center for Compassion. This enriching opportunity for both youth and adoptable dogs is aimed at boosting humane education, improving reading skills, and soothing dogs in the presence of children. The program is held on the third Saturday of every month from 9:30-11am. There is a $10 dollar fee per session and reading books are included. To sign your child up for Shelter Tales, please register here.

Shelter Tours

The Humane Education Department offers tours of the Burlingame center for groups who are interested in learning about our work with animals. Up to 24 people at a time (including adults for children’s groups) can be accommodated. The tour guide starts with a discussion about our services, the different kinds of animals received, and ways people can help them. A walk-through includes seeing the dogs, cats, small and exotic animals up for adoption that day. We ask for $1 per tour participant. Tours last approximately one hour and are conducted on weekdays between 10:30am and 5:00pm by appointment only.

Vet Shadow Program

Through this two-hour program, high school students can get an inside look at veterinary medicine in a shelter setting. Participants have the opportunity to hear about the background and experiences of a shelter veterinarian; observe spay/neuter surgeries in progress; take a brief tour of the In-House Clinic and x-ray room; ask the vet questions and find out what kinds of medical conditions we commonly treat. Space is very limited and students must sign up in advance. No charge, however a $15 donation is suggested. Two sessions offered in June and in December.

Parties with a Purpose

Parties with a Purpose

Celebrate your child's birthday at our Center for Compassion! We host parties for 7-12 year-olds on select Sunday afternoons from 2pm to 4pm. Guests will learn about the animals available for adoption, get a behind-the-scenes shelter tour, and have a meet and greet with a friendly pet! Parties are currently booking up to four months in advance. Parents can choose from two different party packages listed below. To request a party at our facility, please fill out an inquiry form here.

Party Option
The Cat's
Meow Party
The Big
Dog Party
Shelter Tour, pet meet and greet and activities X X
Plush pet party favors for child guests X X
Birthday child can invite up to 10 guests (including siblings) X  
Birthday child can invite up to 15 guests (including siblings)   X
Birthday child can invite up to 8 adult guests (including parents) X X
Pizza and beverages included for all guests   X
Cupcakes included for all guests   X
Tableware and decorations included   X
Custom invitations provided   X
Set-up and clean-up taken care of! X X
Photo Station   X

For Kids

Students of all ages can learn more about helping animals by reading our Caring for Critters pamphlet. It includes suggestions for fundraising and collecting items to benefit the shelter animals too. Just click on the link to download a copy.

Lucky Me is a charming guide to animal companionship and safety for young children. And the author, Christi Drue Dunlap, is one of our Humane Education volunteers!

For Teachers and Parents

The Empathy Connection is a wonderful booklet on the importance of appreciating how others feel and the human-animal bond.

Seeking ways to teach kindness in the classroom?  Get inspired with free lesson plans and project ideas offered through this link.

Check out the Humane Tip of the Month on our homepage!


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Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion
Adoptions | Education | Wildlife | Administration
1450 Rollins Road, Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone 650.340.7022 Fax 650.685.8428

Coyote Point Shelter
Lost/Found | Animal Intake | Spay/Neuter | Animal Control
12 Airport Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94401
Phone 650.340.7022 Fax 650.348.7891