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Woods Humane Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant funds were allocated to support Woods Humane Society’s summer program, Critter Camp, which increased enrollment this year by 25 percent (from 160 children to 200 children) over the course of the summer. Each child had the opportunity to work one-on-one with shelter dogs for an entire week, learning about training, safety, responsible care, and more.

Due in part to this Humane Education grant, Woods Humane Society has been able to increase enrollment in existing Humane Education programs by 15% from July to September, while offering more dynamic and enriching experiences for the youth involved. This dramatically improves our ability to fulfill two of our core missions at Woods Humane Society: providing humane education and nurturing the human-animal bond.

How many pets did this grant help?

At least 100 pets were helped by this grant through the one-on-one socialization they received from Critter Campers.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Bonnie and Clyde (first and second photos, respectively) were a senior, bonded pair of cattle dog/catahoula mixes that came to our shelter in January of 2015. Due to the fact that they were 9 years old and had been outdoor dogs (and therefore not house trained), we were having a very tough time finding a suitable home for them. In addition, Bonnie was extremely shy around new people and needed a good deal of socialization and confidence-building. Both dogs made a great match for our Critter Camp program, working each day for at least two hours with a child age 9-12. During our first week of camp, a 9-year-old girl named Aubrey was assigned to Bonnie. Even though Aubrey, a bright, high-energy gal, was hoping for a very smart, outgoing dog to whom she could teach lots of tricks over the week, she quickly understood that Bonnie would need patience and understanding to help her come out of her shell. By the end of the week, Aubrey had bonded immensely with Bonnie, crying passionately after camp “graduation” out of sadness to end her time with the dog.

Over the next few weeks, we promoted Bonnie and Clyde on a local radio show to try to find the right owners for them. As our Executive Director spoke on the show, a little girl called in to try to help the cause by telling everyone how much she loved Bonnie and what a great dog she was. Before she hung up, the host asked the girl what her name was. The little voice responded, “Aubrey.” Needless to say, this Critter Camper made an enormous difference in Bonnie’s life. Soon after, both Bonnie and Clyde found their forever homes and we get regular updates on them still. Aubrey continues to participate in programs at Woods often and plans to come back for Critter Camp 2016.

Further Reading