Nothing quite tickles my heart like stories conveying the human animal connection. Sometimes such stories put a big goofy grin on my face, and sometimes they cause my eyes and nose to become uncontrolled leaky faucets. Needless to say, I prefer the former to the latter!
The following human-animal bond story was written by my dear friend Kathie Meier and was published in Marin Pets, a blog moderated by the Marin Humane Society. Between Kathie’s descriptions and her fabulous photos, this story succeeded in putting a big goofy grin on my face! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Even though I am many moons past my own summer camp days I look forward each year to volunteering with my animal companions at the Marin Humane Society’s summer camp for children entering first through sixth grades.
For nine weeks on Friday afternoons the Pavilion is filled with the laughter and chatter of excited campers, and the tail wags and kisses of ten fabulous SHARE dogs. In no time the kids have their eager buddies doing sits, downs, and puppy push-ups and traversing beginning agility equipment.
The real fun begins when the kids “teach” their companion a trick and then perform it. To the absolute delight of all we’ve watched Mooki, Duncan and Winston zip through legs, Sophie sit upright and wave her paws, Woody shake, Chudleigh play dead, Charlotte play the toy piano with her nose, Tigger, MJ, and Angus run an agility course, Katie dance, Autumn, Kuri and Frisco jump through hoops, Chloe and Mitzi roll over, and Lance balance a treat on his nose and catch it.
This is my 11th year coming to summer camp with my dogs. While the kids have grown and changed over the years, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the magic of the bond of having animals in our lives. The camp provides the children a wonderful opportunity to spend the week learning about animals of all shapes and sizes and to work 1-on-1 with some very special dogs.
The Marin Humane Society SHARE Program dogs participate in a wide variety of animal-assisted therapy programs including visits to seniors, reading with children through SHARE a Book, and classroom humane education programs throughout Marin. I know my pup Charlotte would say that paws down the summer camp dog training is her favorite! No surprise that each year it’s also the favorite activity of the children.
Kathie Meier- www.brrnese.com
Have you and one of your pets participated in an animal-assisted therapy program? If so, I would love to hear all about it.
Best wishes for good health,
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook
Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.