Everyone at my house is going to camp this summer. The kids have been swimming in Lake Tahoe, making new friends, and singing songs. Oh, the songs. If you thought a barking dog was annoying try listening to Little Red Wagon over and over again. “Second verse is the same as the first. It’s just a little bit louder and a little bit worse.” The third verse isn’t any better but you are closer to the end. I need to go to dog camp. We could swim in Tahoe, roll in smelly stuff, and howl together. No cats allowed. For a few of my friends at the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, this summer the camp came to them.
This year the humane society held its first-ever weeklong EdVenture Camp. When I asked 10-year-old camper Parker Leftwich what his favorite part was, he replied, “Playing with the animals.” He also enjoyed making posters of the animals to help find them homes. The kids even produced videos of adoptable pets that can be seen on the HSTT Facebook page. The 16 campers, ages 8 to 10, got a chance to learn some pretty cool stuff from experts at the shelter. Not only did the kids get to handle shelter dogs and cats every day, they learned skills like pet CPR. I guess if I was having a heart attack CPR wouldn’t be so bad, but I think people breath smells disgusting.
Among the experts at camp were Officer Andrew Holbrook and Trax from the Town of Truckee. Trax, a rambunctious Labrador retriever, is trained to sniff out narcotics, and he demonstrated how his keen sense of smell can help keep us safer. Local veterinarian Dr. Mike Ryan and Senior Animal Caretaker Alison McEnany talked about spaying and neutering your pets. None of the kids actually got to perform surgery (thank God!), but they did learn how to put in sutures using a banana. Next year I am willing to volunteer my brother Indy if the kids need any practice performing medical procedures. HSTT has plans to expand the camp next year with more kids and more age groups. Look for details next spring.
Cooper was another camp volunteer. Cooper, a 4-year-old American bulldog mix, let the kids give him a health check. Cooper was a patient patient as the kids checked out his ears and lips. Coop isn’t new to the volunteering thing. He visited a preschool earlier in the year to do a demonstration on proper pet care. Cooper’s hobbies include snuggling, giving kisses, and practicing yoga. Cooper loves kids and helping out but would like to leave his shelter days behind. Parker thinks Cooper needs a home where the people will play with him and not leave him home all the time. Parker walks well on a leash, loves to play with other dogs, and is tolerant of little kids climbing on him. To see more of Cooper or any of the other fine dogs and cats at the shelter, visit hstt.org. Make sure you check out Cooper’s yoga video where he shares some of his favorite poses, like downward human pose.
~ Comment on this column below.