Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Fun, Fur

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Fun, Fur

Article excerpt

Campers bond with animals

"Spiders! Whiskers! Cat Nose!"

Twenty children seated in a circle in the Humane Society of Sarasota County's Education Center shout out guesses. They are playing a game of animal-themed Pictionary, one of at least 10 activities scheduled for the day at the nonprofit's Fur Fun Summer Camp.

The Humane Society is holding six week-long sessions for children ages 7 to 12 to play with animals, learn about humane responsibility, tour the facility and talk to animal professionals such as veterinarians.

"It's sort of like going to school, but actually going to school for what you want to do when you're older," said 9-year-old Lilly Torres.

Torres has two dogs, two cats and a pool in her backyard at home so she knows she doesn't have room for another pet. She hopes to someday help other pets find new homes--to "save animals that are on death row."

"We are fostering kindness, respect and responsibility for all species so (the kids) can become solutionaries, said Margie Pacher, the humane education coordinator.

Educating children about compassion toward animals and protections is a small step in addressing issues such as domestic violence and animal abuse, neglect and abandonment, said Pacher.

"When we start with young kids, we teach them kindness and how their actions can affect animals," Pacher said.

Pacher, who has a master's degree in humane education, runs the camp with kindergarten teacher and fellow summer camp leader Michelle Ulrich.

"We want them to say that puppies are their favorite thing," Ulrich said. "That's what keeps them coming back. We're sending children out in the community to spread our message."

While the camp helps kids understand animal compassion, it also helps support the Humane Society. Tuition is $200 per session; siblings get a $15 discount.

Eight-year-old Zoey Bell came to her first day of camp prepared. Pink puppies wearing tiaras and flowers decorated the tank top she chose for the occasion. By snack time, Bell was ready to meet the puppies.

"I can already tell they are going to be nice," she said.

"It's sort of like going to school, but actually going to school for what you want to do when you're older," said 9-year-old Lilly Torres. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.