Summer was a busy, yet exciting time at Dane County Humane Society (DCHS). Hundreds of baby wild animals were brought to the Wildlife Center, dozens of kittens found new homes, and the shelter was abuzz every week with 40 campers eager to learn. These kids were a part of Camp Pawprint - Summer Break and came to the shelter for week-long day camps where they interacted with a variety of animals, learned about diverse animal careers, and completed shelter service projects.
Natalie has been coming to Camp Pawprint since the first year she could, at age 7. Now 10-years-old, Natalie’s interest in animals has grown into a true passion. One of her favorite lessons at camp was on guinea pig care. After these lessons and completing her own research, Natalie and her family decided to adopt Ditto, a 3-year-old guinea pig who had been surrendered because his owners did not have enough time to care for him. Natalie learned what it takes to be a responsible pet owner, and Ditto is now getting all the love, care, and attention he deserves. Natalie has been so inspired by all the animals she has met and those caring for them that she hopes to one day become a veterinarian.
DCHS Humane Educator Ash Collins directs all education programs at the shelter, including Camp Pawprint. Helping inspire children like Natalie is why she and her team of camp counselors and volunteers work tirelessly to connect with over 3,000 children and community members every year.
“We focus our education program on providing one-of-a-kind experiences that teach the public not only about DCHS, but also how they can make our community a better place for both people and animals,” says Ash.
These one-of-a-kind experiences are offered year-round at DCHS through Girl Scout workshops, school field trips, and more. Groups that come to the shelter get a behind-the-scenes tour and an up-close look at day-to-day happenings. Staff and volunteers are also available to visit schools and organizations to present on a variety of animal welfare topics, from pet care and safety to helping native Wisconsin wildlife.
These lessons on the services provided at DCHS and animal welfare are just as valuable and enjoyable for adults too. Businesses, organizations, and senior centers frequently come to tour the shelter or invite DCHS to their own facilities for Lunch & Learn style events.
One presentation at a time, DCHS is working to create a more compassionate community now and in the future. By bringing a variety of topics to classrooms and offices around Dane County and beyond, our education program serves the community while helping raise funds to provide comfort and care for animals at DCHS.
DCHS is a private, nonprofit animal shelter with an adoption guarantee. Over 8,000 animals come through the DCHS doors every year and receive much-needed care thanks to generous supporters and fees from both adoptions and humane education programs. Please visit giveshelter.org to support DCHS and learn more about the humane education opportunities.
Marissa DeGroot is the public relations coordinator at Dane County Humane Society.