When do sessions begin?
New sessions open every quarter (Dec – Feb, Mar – May, Jun – Aug, Sep – Nov).
Who is eligible?
Children 6-15 years old, with an accompanying adult or guardian 18 years or older.
How do I register my child as a HiTails Ambassador?
Click the link at the bottom of the page for Hi Tails Ambassador Interest, and fill out the form. We will follow up with an email, containing a number of attachments: a brief powerpoint training presentation, a rules acknowledgement form, and a photo release form.
Once I’ve signed my child up for HiTails, how do I sign up for a reading session?
Once we receive the signed acknowledgement of the rules and photo release, we will send a link to the Sign Up Genius. Time slots are first come first serve. Additional questions regarding Sign Up Genius can be found at http://www.signupgenius.com/support
Can I stop by and read any day?
No. The Howard County Animal Control & Adoption Center hosts HiTails Ambassadors on Wednesdays afternoons from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. There are 11 slots for 20-minute reading sessions beginning at 3:30 pm (three from 3:30 to 3:50, four from 3:50 to 4:10, and four from 4:10 to 4:30 pm). In an effort to accommodate as many readers as possible, each child may sign up for only one slot per month.
Do children go to the shelter on their own?
No. For the safety of the child and the animal, each HiTails Ambassador must be accompanied by an adult. One adult may not chaperone more than one child.
Can someone else chaperone my child if I can’t attend?
Yes, but the chaperone must be at least 18 years of age.
I have more than one child. Can they read together?
The Adoption Center requires a one to one to one ratio between the animal, the child and the chaperone. If you have more than one child, you will need to make arrangements to have one child per time slot, or have an additional chaperone per child.
What does my child read?
Children may bring their own book, or choose from the selection of children’s books at the Adoption Center.
What do I bring with me?
A smile! The Adoption Center provides a mat for children to sit on and a chair for the adult chaperone. If a child needs a chair instead of the mat, please let the Adoption Center staff know.
How long does my child read to the animals?
Children read for 20 minutes to an animal. This is the recommended amount of time that children spend on their reading and enough time for the animals to feel comfortable with you.
What do we do when we get to the shelter?
Report to the main desk, and tell them your child is registered to read to an animal. Please arrive at least 5 minutes before your scheduled time. A staff member will give your child a HiTails Ambassador badge, direct you to the reading area, and provide a mat for the child and chair for the chaperone.
Can my child read to any animal?
Children can read to available dogs, cats, or domestic “others” such as rabbits, ferrets, or hamsters. HiTails Ambassadors have even read to pigs and chickens!
How do I use one account to sign up more than one child for activities?
From Sign Up Genius: When you sign up for something, our system uses your account name by default. However, you can change the name that is displayed on your sign up at any time so that it displays your child’s name instead. Login and click the “Invited To” tab on your account page. Click the pencil icon to the right of the item. Choose the “Display an Alternate Name” option and enter the name. Click “Update my Sign Up.” Alternately, if you are logged in when you first sign up, you can click the checkbox for “Display an Alternate Name” at the bottom of the sign up form. If you are signing up more than one child on the same sign up, just sign them up one at a time
What if I sign up but can’t come?
First you should go to the Sign Up Genius site and edit your time slot. If you signed up with an account (using an email and password). It’s fairly simple to edit or change your sign up… go to the homepage of SignUpGenius.com and log in with the email and password that you used to sign up or RSVP. This will take you to the My Account page which will show you all the sign ups that you have responded to under the “Invited To” tab. Click the pencil icon to the right of the item and you will be able to edit your RSVP or revise your sign up item.
If you signed up without an account (using your name and email address), you can get to the sign up by following the link provided in your email invite or email from the sign up creator telling you about the sign up. When you get to the sign up, you’ll see a link at the top in the General Details area that says, “Already signed up? You can change your sign up.” Please do this as soon as you know you can’t attend so a slot is available for someone else.
Important: If there is a last minute change and you can’t get to a computer, please notify us via email at Hitails@hclibrary.org or call 410.313.7750 prior to your scheduled time slot. Failure to show up for your allotted time slot twice will result in exclusion from the program.