The Littlest Pet Shop opens at Thistles

Freddie (six) and Sage Chapman (three) enjoy at trip to The Littlest Pet Shop at The Thistles, Stirling. Image by Julie Howden.

A free event for all kids this summer which allows them to become a vet for the day and learn about different animals has opened at Thistles shopping centre 

The Littlest Pet Shop has opened its doors at Thistles shopping centre in Stirling. A free event for kids, it will run from Friday 2 – Thursday 29 July, offering visitors the chance to take part in fun animal-themed activities during the summer holidays.

In what promises to be four weeks of animal antics, kids will step inside the pretend pet shop and become The Littlest Pet Shop employees as they help look after their cuddly toy pets. Children will have their turn at playing vet, complete with lab coat, be given demonstrations on how to care for pets and get involved in exciting interactive sessions.

Thistles has teamed up with local animal charity Reanimate, which works to positively influence the wellbeing of people and animals in the community and rescues and rehabilitates animals of all kinds, with all donations going directly to the charity. The event is free and donations are entirely voluntary.

With a different animal theme each week, The Littlest Pet Shop kicks off with Puppy School. Attendees will pick and name their puppy, learn all about how to look after a dog and how to pamper their pooch too. It’s then onto puppy school where they bring their toy puppies and join the puppy trainer ‘Jack Russell’ to teach them lots of new tricks.

Reptiles will take the limelight in week two. The children will learn all about different reptiles, what they eat and how to make sure they don’t escape their incubators, before moving onto snake and lizard training school where they’ll play reptile themed games.

Next up is the bunny spot, where the little ones will help feed the rabbits, hop like bunnies and discover where bunnies burrow during week three, before popping on aprons and creating some delicious bunny cookies to take home.

The final week will see kittens and cats take a starring role. Children can choose and name their cuddly toy feline friend, dress them up to compete in a best dressed cat competition and get involved in some kitty craft to take home as a memento from the day.

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, said: “This is the first event of its kind at the centre and we’re really pleased to be able to offer something so different and engaging completely free of charge to families during the summer holidays.

“We launched our new campaign, #ThistlesHelps, earlier this month which aims to lend a helping hand to the community after a difficult year. We hope that the Littlest Pet Shop goes some way to helping parents and carers when it comes to entertaining their children while they are off school or nursery.

“There’s a new theme each week so we are confident the kids will love the first session and want to come back for more in the following weeks.”

Sharon Taylor, founder of Reanimate, said: “We are thrilled to be the chosen charity for this project and look forward to seeing all the children learning about animals. This project will help us to buy feed, hay and cover necessary vet bills for all the animals under our care. We feel it will be particularly helpful for our oldest resident Twiggy who needs high levels of medication to help keep her healthy.”

Each session lasts 15 minutes, with sensory sessions taking place between 11am – 12pm every Sunday, as part of the ongoing work the centre does with Scottish Autism. The Littlest Pet Shop will meet all Covid-19 safety regulations, with online booking required.

Extra digital content on how to care for pets at home, where to go if you want a pet and information on charity partner Reanimate, will also be available to all attendees.

For more information and to book your place at the Littlest Pet Shop, please visit www.thistlesstirling.com. Sensory sessions can be booked via email by contacting informationdesk@stirling-thistles.co.uk.

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