Free educational tours of DSPCA shelters will be back for the first time since Covid-19

Free educational tours of DSPCA shelters will return in May after two years of cancellation.

The Rathfarnham Animal Welfare Charity has been running the tours for years, but they have been on hold since 2020 due to the pandemic.

Schools, colleges, and community groups are all welcome to attend the tours and create a session appropriate to the age and ability of the participants.

The DSPCA held online educational conferences during Covid-19, but said it was “really nice” to return to face-to-face visits.

DSPCA’s Gillian Bird told Dublin Live: “We are still doing online discussions and we would encourage schools to do the online discussions and then follow it up with a visit to the shelter.

“Basically what we do is if they haven’t come to see us before, we do an introductory speech in our class.

“We tell them about the work we do here at the DSPCA, why the animals are here, what they will see, what they won’t see, why they will and won’t see certain animals.

“And we explain to them that it’s a working shelter with a working vet and we have wildlife and stuff.

“So we tell them we can bring them down to see the cats and dogs available for rehousing, but we can’t get you to areas that have very nervous wildlife like foxes and badgers.

“So we explain to them what animals are there and what we currently have in the shelter we are looking after.

“We will then have a topical discussion and discuss anything that might be of interest to teachers.”

Then the group is taken on a 1.5km walk around the grounds where there are views of the Hellfire Club and Dublin Bay.

Biodiversity, ecosystems and wildlife are all covered during a site visit and groups also visit the dog relocation kennels and cattery.

There is also a stable area with resident goats, ducks, chickens and pigs and a picnic area to end the tour with lunch.

Gillian said tours are free but donations are always appreciated.

She asked teachers to contact the DSPCA with any questions they had and said online chats were available ahead of the tour.

For more information on DSPCA Refuge Educational Tours, click here.

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