Animals aren't just for kids. People of all ages enjoy connecting with them, and humane animal exhibitors like Tiny Tails to You often have specific packages geared toward adults. Here are five tips on how you can make any event unique and unforgettable with the addition of cute, cuddly animals.
1. Learn about the company you’re working with. You want to find a company that puts the animals’ safety and health first. Search review sites for customer reviews that mention the company’s treatment of the animals and guests at events. Look on the company’s website for specific information about the animals’ care and safety. Some things to look for: companies that place restrictions on the temperatures for animals to be outside and offer indoor setups for inclement weather; companies that organize events with safety in mind; companies that focus on animal well-being; and companies that offer a description of fresh food and daily enrichment activities provided for its animals.
2. Make sure the company has an up-to-date United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) license and carries insurance. A USDA license is mandatory for anyone exhibiting mammals and ensures approved animal safety and care standards are maintained. An active USDA license means that a company is passing surprise inspections conducted by USDA veterinarians. You can use the USDA license search tool to ensure a company is licensed: acis.aphis.edc.usda.gov/ords Also check that the company carries general liability insurance and workers compensation (which protects you if a worker is injured on your property).
3. Know what to expect. Before the event, understand what the setup will look like, how big of a space you will need, and whether the company requires electricity or water access. Know how many parking spaces they will take up and how close they need to park to the event.
4. Know whether permits are required to have animals at your location. Events with small animals don’t require permits, but permits may be necessary for events with horses, goats or other large animals depending on your location.
5. Check the weather. What if it’s hot, rainy or cold outside on the day of your event? Many companies provide easy indoor setup options. Look for information on their website or call to ask.
Animals are a great addition to any event. They bring joy to guests, provide a calming effect, and leave people with a sense of wonder. Some companies, like Tiny Tails to You, will curate events specifically for your event’s needs.
Chelsea Phillips is Director and Co-Owner of Tiny Tails to You, LLC, an Austin-based travelling petting zoo.