Friday, August 5, 2011

Dog Days of Summer Camp 2011

Brookhaven Animal Rescue League hosted its second annual summer camp for kids the last week of July. Thanks to the participation of several volunteer counselors, daily visits from area veterinarians, presentations from people who spend their lives working with and training dogs, and the enthusiasm of forty-five campers, the camp was a huge success.

On Monday we were joined by Lt. Clint Earls and his canine partner, Ike, of the Brookhaven Police Department. Lt. Earls talked about the canine’s job details and presented a demonstration teaching how he and Ike work together as a team to bring down the bad guys. Later in the morning, Dr. Bob Watson from Brookhaven Animal Hospital spoke to the children about the importance of spaying and neutering pets and the responsibility of being a pet owner.

Tuesday was an exciting day for campers. Rebecca Floyd and Kathie Curtis from Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center in Madison visited with Ms. Floyd’s Doberman Pinscher guide dog, Lucy, and guide dog in training, five month old German Shepherd, Dixie. The ladies spoke of the training involved in producing a reliable guide dog along with the duties that a guide dog is relied upon to perform. Our veterinary guest speaker on Tuesday was Dr. Pat Larkin from Larkin Veterinary Clinic in Bude. Dr. Larkin told the children about vaccinations that animals need on an annual basis and answered questions from the campers.
Fernwood’s Deputy Fire Chief, Lycia Moran and her search and rescue dogs, Piper and Chancy, talked the children on Wednesday about what to do if they ever become lost. Chancy, a Bloodhound, tracked one of our counselors using the scent from the counselor’s cap. The campers were thrilled to watch Chancy follow the path the counselor had taken and then point that person out to the group. Labrador Retriever, Piper, wowed the children with an obedience demonstration. Dr. William Kimble from Brookhaven’s Animal Medical Center presented a discussion on heartworms and the importance of having your canine companion on a preventive.

Thursday, Mike Callahan of Brandon, put on a show for the children with his Labs, Fancy and Jake. While Fancy did a counting demonstration for the campers, Jake followed hand signals and whistles to locate a hidden object. As Jake was given directions to find the object, Mr. Callahan spoke about avoiding temptation and staying on the path The Master has set out for each of us. The message tied in beautifully with the camp’s theme for the week: D.O.G - Depend on God. We were then joined by Dr. Stacy Gowan of Copiah Animal Hospital who talked to the children about basic veterinary care and allowed each child to examine a live dog and listen to its heartbeat.
Friday was the perfect ending to the week. We were joined again this year by Marsha Jones of Brandon Agility Running K9s (BARK) and Brandon Kennel Club (BKC) and her Shelties, Rocket and Phantom and Jo Beth Britt of Brandon Agility Running K9s (BARK), Jackson Obedience Training Club (JOTC) and Vicksburg Kennel Club with her Shelties Christopher, Gamble, and Tad. The teams ran an energetic agility demonstration for the campers. Following the demonstration the campers were taken to MSA where together with Co-Lin cheerleaders and Wolf mascots, parents, grandparents, BARL volunteers and others had a parade through downtown Brookhaven. Accompanying the campers were several BARL dogs and many personal pets. Over a hundred people participated in the parade making it a wildly, successful event.

In addition throughout the week the campers were given instructions on training their own personal pets learning commands such as: sit, down, stay, come, and walking on a leash. Campers were also taught about safety around strange dogs, bite prevention, and how to be a responsible canine keeper.

We wish to thank everyone who donated so much time and energy and put so much heart and love into the camp to make it another great event for the children of Brookhaven.

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