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Rutland County Humane Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

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

The generous grant from the Petfinder Foundation was used to hold our Camp Furry Friends after we were unable to finance it the previous year. Camp Furry Friends hosts twelve 8- to 11-year-olds for one week in the summer. Interestingly, parents often stay for parts of the program and have often commented on how much they learn. This camp provides information on basic care and has visiting speakers/demonstrations in the areas of police K9s, veterinary care, and Animal Control. Although focused on small companion animals, there is a unit on large-animal care requirements, including a visit by some ponies.

In addition to supplying and staffing Camp Furry Friends, this money allowed us to visit schools, youth groups and host a program from a local school that brought children to the shelter to read to our dogs. It also allowed us to take the staff time to answer hundreds of questions via email and phone from young people working on high-school and college papers.

It has been the philosophy of the Rutland County Humane Society (RCHS) that by providing services to the community and educating people of all ages, especially children and youth, we build support for our mission, which includes building a more-humane community. RCHS has spent years building a reputation that has seen us gain financial support and understanding of the work we do and the meaning and importance of animal welfare. This grant allowed us to expand that effort to include more young people and children.

How many pets did this grant help?

While prevention of neglect or cruelty, the long-term results of our education efforts, is impossible to measure, we are confident that the children who attended camp, visited the shelter or received a visit from RCHS and one of our shelter animals have been made aware of the benefits of treating animals with love and care. RCHS takes in more than 1,400 animals annually and provides care for hundreds of community animals to allow them to stay in their homes. Camp Furry Friends focuses on recruiting at-risk children through a local multi-school program for these kids.

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

The animals who were helped by this grant are nameless and their stories unknown. The dogs who had the attention of readers or were bathed and walked by campers, the cats who were socialized by campers and the animals who were cared for by the donations many of our children brought in went on to their forever homes in good health, well-socialized and were able to leave their past behind and find happiness and love.

Further Reading