Combining fun and awareness of animal safety, that's the goal of Pet Helpers PAWS camp. We're on James Island for our Cool camp of the week.
Kids and pets go hand in hand, so having both in one camp, makes for a fun time. It's the Pet Helpers PAWS camp, that stands for Promoting Animal Welfare and Safety camp. Eleven-year-old Wells Bowden attends the camp. She says, “It's like a multi-purpose camp. You can play games. You can socialize with animals, and you can learn about them, and so I think that's the three qualities why it's really cool.” Camp director Jessica Branton says, “Lots of play time, lots of snuggle time for them. They also get to make cool little crafts that will stay with the animals here at the shelter. We do a dog walking class and dog handling class, where they learn about how animals communicate through their body language since they can't speak to us. So they get to learn about that and practice their new skills with some of the animals here that are kid friendly. They also get to learn about animal cruelty and neglect and how to recognize it.”
PAWS is a one-week day camp designed for students entering fifth through eighth grades. The focus is on animal welfare and responsible ownership, but campers also participate in a variety of arts and crafts, like decorating collars, games, and independent projects. Campers, 10-year-old Mary Claire Kreutner and Ella Waldron-Noren are working on a special project to prove black cats are not superstitious. Mary Clair says, “It's just cool because all of the people that go to this camp love animals, so it's cool to be around people who are the same as you.” Ella says, “You get to interact with the animals and stuff, play with the animals, make collars for the animals, and get to shadow, walk the dogs, so we get to do lots of fun stuff. Today we watched surgery for a cat we see how they do it. It's like basically looking at our future if kids want to be a veterinarian, this is how they do it. It's really cool.”
Camper Miles Fickling hopes to do just that. He plans to be a veterinarian one day. Mile says, “You get to help the animals. I love animals. I love animals more than I love my self.”
Pet Helpers PAWS camp offered three sessions this year, and is now in its fourth year. For more information about Pet Helpers or the PAWS camp, click here: http://www.pethelpers.org <http://www.pethelpers.org>.