Summer camp allows kids to bring their dogs - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Summer camp allows kids to bring their dogs

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - In a group of summer campers, there are a few who some would say stand out.

The participants at the camp are a mixture of human and dogs. It's all part of the Kentucky Humane Society's "Kids and Canines Camp."

Camp counselor Carmen Raidy said, "At this camp, kids have the opportunity to bring their own dog to camp with them."

It's the first year the Kentucky Humane Society has put on this kind of program.

"The response has been really interesting. A lot of people are really excited about it and can't believe the dog gets to come too," said Valerie Merrifield, the camp's Education Manager.

The dogs have to demonstrate that they play well with others before joining the group for camp. Once that happens, the kids can sign them up to come twice a week.

Raidy said, "These guys are going to be pet owners one day and a lot of them have pets right now, so it's great to give them the skills to train any pets they might have with positive reinforcement training and really teach them how to be responsible, respectful pet owners."

"I don't know where my mom found this but she said, 'Oh there's a camp where you can bring your dog,' and I just thought that would be really, really fun," said camper Amelia Gorman.

At the camp, dogs like Gorman's collie Cassie soak up attention from more than two dozen kids.

Gorman said, "Cassie really enjoys it. She loves other dogs, she likes attention, and she's really, really friendly."

The kids aren't just interacting with the dogs that have been brought to camp. They are also at the shelter getting to know some of the animals that haven't been adopted.

Merrifield said, "Sometimes they just see a face and they want to play, and I'm trying to teach them there's a story behind why these are animals here and we want to prevent this in the future."

The kids spend time with puppies and cats that don't have a home yet.

"We want them to make good choices so my whole goal with this camp is they grow and up and as an adult, they choose a pet that fits their lifestyle. If they're not ready for it, maybe make a different decision and that way we can end animals coming into shelters for poor decision making," Merrifield said.

With this kind of training, the kids are getting a good foundation for how to handle a pet down the road and in the present.

"It helps you really get to know your dog better," Gorman said.

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