PARKERSBURG - A group of local children is spending the week learning about dogs, cats and other animals and how to care for them through a program at the Humane Society of Parkersburg.
The week's "Camp Ruffin' It" program is in its second year at the Parkersburg shelter with 24 boys and girls from ages 8 to 12 working with teen and adult volunteer counselors at the shelter, said executive director Maryann Hollis.
The program will also be offered for a week in July, Hollis said. That camp will run from 8 a.m. to noon July 12-16, with a registration deadline of July 1. The cost is $85 a child, which covers snacks, drinks, a T-shirt and other supplies, she said. Enrollment is limited, so parents should contact the shelter at 304-422-8541.
The Humane Society of Parkersburg holds Camp Ruffin’ It for children from ages 8 to 12.
Hollis said the society held two camps last year, also in June and July. The society decided to try the program after learning about similar activities at other shelters around the country, including a shelter the Parkersburg facility works closely with.
Last year's response was very positive and this year's program is also going well, she said. About half of the children in this week's camp participated in one or both of last year's camps,.
"It's a great way for kids to learn about animal care. We cover all types of animals during the week. They also have a shelter buddy who is one of our adoptable dogs who they get to work with and train. It culminates in a little dog show, showing off what they learned during the week (on Friday)," Hollis said.
Photo by Wayne Towner
Groups of students in the Camp Ruffin’ It at the Humane Society of Parkersburg work to teach one of the shelter’s dogs how to obey basic commands, skills and tricks. The students are spending the week learning about how to care for cats, dogs and other types of pets.
The students participate in a variety of activities during the camp week, including shelter tours, crafts, activities and instruction on caring for a variety of pets from dogs and cats to hamsters and reptiles. They also learn about pet responsibility, being responsible for cleaning up after their shelter buddies and cleaning their kennels, among other chores.
The children - in groups of two to four per dog - also work with the dogs to teach them basic commands, like "sit," "stay," "shake" and others. They are also encouraged to teach the dogs some special command or trick to show off during the final day of camp, Hollis said.
Spencer Wren, 10, of Parkersburg is participating in his third camp. His mother is a veterinarian and when she learned about the program, she registered him.
The Humane Society of Parkersburg is holding Camp Ruffin' It for children from ages 8 to 12 this week.
The camp program will be held again July 12-16, with a registration deadline of July 1.
For more information on Camp Ruffin' It, call 304-422-8541.
"I think it's really fun," he said.
Wren is part of a group working this week with Reba, a female Great Dane pup, teaching her basic commands and tricks during the week. His favorite part of the camp is the talent show at the end of the week, he said.
"I started this last year and I loved it so much I came back this year," said Trista Bunner, 12, of Dallison.
Bunner said the time spent working with the dogs and teaching them commands is her favorite part of the camp.
"All dogs have different personalities," she said, adding she has two dogs and two cats at home.
Hollis believes the program is positive for both the shelter and the children.
"You're teaching the future generation how to properly care for animals, from needing to walk and feed and water dogs to needing to clean a cat's litter box and feed and water cats. Everybody needs to be brushed and groomed and vaccinated to prevent diseases. They are getting a really good head start," she said.