Tuesday, June 14, 2011

DAY 1 Camp Doglando

Every day, for the duration of Camp Doglando I will share a few tid bits of our day.

Today, first day of camp session 1, our kids started off the day learning about Doglando. The learned the differences between stock stick and healing sticks, and learned how we used them to slow dogs down while in mid flight especially in our 2 acres field. They were fascinated the the number of dogs and how well they all got along. They learned how to greet a dog properly and how to approach dogs that are reluctant of strangers.

We then left for our first field trip of the camp. We went to Petland where they played with all kinds of puppies, new hybrid mutts even I had never heard of before, and got to handle "pocket" sized dogs. We left Petland to go visit the SPCA of Central Florida and Orange County Animal Control where they fed shelter dogs treats and learned about how some of the dogs ended up in shelters.

On our ride back to Doglando, the youths and staff discussed the different aspects of puppy stores, and objectively evaluated the differences in all three places. I am always fascinated by the amount of knowledge children have. There ways of thinking, untainted compassion, trust, knowledge and judgement and most of all their pureness.

During one of our discussions one of the youths said "isn't that abusive" regarding the care of dogs before puppies are brought into pet stores, and while they remain the shops. I explained to him, "well yes it can be.... it certainly is unhealthy and unfit from a dogs point of view....." Then, another youth said, "well In America, we care more about how many burgers McDonald's sells every day." I glanced over to him, a bit puzzled, and asked him to clarify, I did not understand what he meant.

He said, "well, its just like Mc Donald's, its not good for you, but we certainly care how many burgers they sell and how well they are doing.... and the pet shop was the same!"

I was in awe! I just could not believe this analogy. I learned something new today!

Then, a little later on, they were talking about wanting to teach at Camp Doglando one day. They were talking about taking roles such as President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary and what each ones position and role would be. So, I asked them, if you were the President of United States, what is one law you would make and enforce? Here were there answers:

1. If I could only make one law it would be that I have the right to make three others.
2. If anyone buys a cat or a dog, they would be obligated to keep it forever until the animal passes away and care for it properly until then.
3. It would be to require non-scheduled in home visits by a secret service agent unannounced to the pet owner to ensure the care and safety of all animals.
4. For anyone who abuses animals the first time would be the last, they would spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Once we arrived at Doglando, the youths selected their rescue pups. Before we did this, I asked them what was the best way to select what dog goes to what youth. They all agreed the best was for them to choose. So, I said, well that is great, but what if two of you want the same puppy. Two of the youths said, well if that is the case we can talk it out amongst us and see who wants that one more and why and we can go from there. I thought to myself, darn! These kids are amazing!
But just to be sure, I said, well what if you need a little help finalizing that decision, because you both have great reasons for wanting the pup, they all agreed they would play rock, paper, scissors and be done!

I could not believe it! Guess what, we did not even need to do that.... they all ended up having different favorites.

The rest of the afternoon was spent swimming with the pups, training patiences while opening the crate door and waiting to be released, and leadership.

Although totally exhausting, we had a great day today and I am really looking forward to working with these kids.

More tomorrow.

1 comment:

Baby Pants said...

This brought a little tear to my eye. I'm thrilled that the kids are so responsible and sensitive to animals. They will be great pet owners someday!