But on Saturday, doors at the Wake County Animal Center opened wide for the Kids 4 Critters program. Children from Northwoods Elementary and their parents saw pet intake, veterinary services and other places usually accessed by center staff only.
Several children giggled as they cuddled a tiny kitten, just a few weeks old, after hearing Dr. Jenn Frederico demonstrate how they humanely capture feral cats in order to medicate them and keep them safe.
"Pull the kitty all the way to the side," she said as she demonstrated it on a small steel crate with sliding doors, "and we kind of squeeze him over here, so we can stick him in the butt and give him his vaccine. And then we can release him!"
It was a fun visit for Camille Kauer and her daughter Vanessa who smiled shyly while telling us, "I get to show her my art tile, and I get to see cute doggies and cats!"
The #Kids4Critters program brought students from Northwoods Elementary and some parents to the #EAPLAY Wake County Animal Center. We’ll show what they saw and how they reacted to kittens and puppies, on @ABC11_WTVD ! pic.twitter.com/y2qPtcfwIg— Anthony Wilson (@AnthonyABC11) June 9, 2018
There are several art tiles you'll see if you're inside the center and look up to the ceiling.
Lisa Goedes, a fourth-grade teacher at Northwoods Elementary, told us why they're up there
"The paint goes so nicely into the tiles," she said. "And then the animals are all around, and we're looking up, and the whole center's involved in it!"
Vanessa's mother speaks for many when she says, "It's hard not to want to take every puppy home with you because they have so many beautiful pets here!"
After kids and adults spend time in such close proximity to animals that need homes, there are love connections made for pets like pit bull mix Charger who are available for adoption.
Cats are available also available once they weigh at least a couple of pounds. In fact, with hundreds of kittens and cats cycling through the center the people who run it urge pet lovers to foster some of the pets.
"Come on out and get a puppy, or a cat! They also have mice available," said Kauer.