Brookhaven Animal Rescue League proudly hosted its first annual summer day camp for kids in July. With 35-40 children in attendance daily, the kids were taught many ways to be a dog's best friend.
On Monday, Lt. Clint Earls and his canine partner, Felix, provided the kids with information on how to be safe around strange dogs. They also did a demonstration highlighting some of Felix's special obedience commands. On Tuesday, Mrs. Beth Adcock talked to the children about the importance of having a plan ready that includes your pets in the case of a disaster and being prepared to evacuate with your pet should the need arise. Wednesday, Mrs. Janice Wallace, groomer and owner of The Dog House, brought the adorable Miss. Cocoa and taught the kids the importance of proper grooming. Cocoa was a big hit with her pink and green bows and perfectly polished toe nails. Later that day we were delighted to have Dr. Bob Watson talk to the children about spaying and neutering pets to help control the problem of over-population in our community. Thursday was a real treat with Marsha Jones and Jo Beth Britt and their athletic Shelties - Spring, Rocket, Phantom, Tad, Chris, and Rowdy - performing an agility demonstration for our campers. The children were fascinated by the fast paced obstacle course and many seemed interested in learning agility with their own dogs. Friday finished up the week with a Parade of Pooches where the children's parents were allowed to bring the camper's personal pets from home to participate. Children without a pet of their own were provided with a dog from BARL for the event.
Shelter manager and dog trainer, Jayne Wells, was on hand daily to teach the kids different training techniques. The kids were encouraged to go home each day and practice what they had learned with their own pets.
BARL is blessed with the best volunteers around. So many wonderful folks poured their hearts and souls into making each element of camp exciting for the children. We had a great group of camp counselors that interacted so well with the kids and supervisors who carefully watched over the details of the day helping out wherever they were needed. Each day a different volunteer provided refreshments. In addition there were several people who worked behind the scenes transporting dogs, donating ice, providing craft supplies, and so much more. Without these special people giving so much of themselves, this camp would not have happened.
The camp provided a fun forum to enhance the children's understanding about caring for an animal. It also provided wonderful socialization for the BARL dogs that served each day to help in training exercises.
BARL consider's this first camp to have been a huge success and already has plans underway for continuing this tradition for years to come.
I was honored to serve as camp director for the week and can't wait until next year!