What could be better than spending the morning at summer camp? Try hitting camp with your cat in tow for a quick lesson on therapy cats. For the second straight summer, Max the cat (with a little help from me) was one of the guests of honor at the Humane Heroes day camp at The Anti-Cruelty Society.
Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (HEART) and The Anti-Cruelty Society have joined forces for a very cool camp for 10 to 12 year olds in Chicago. The kids summons their inner super hero by learning empathy and compassion to help make them Humane Heroes. Which brings us to why Max gets to go to summer camp.
My very laid-back and friendly cat Max is a certified therapy cat. This year, he was one of several very special animal guests that stopped by The Anti-Cruelty Society to highlight the special role that animals play in our lives beyond being pets during Entertaining Animals Day.
Max used his normal charm to work the room while we talked about the various ways that service dogs make life better for some people. Then, we talked about therapy pets. Max has been certified by Love on a Leash as a CTC – Certified Therapy Cat – complete with his own ID card.
Each week, Max visits the Alzheimer’s ward at our neighborhood nursing home, where he has is own personal fan club. He also participates in reading programs at the Lake Bluff Library during the summer and fall. So, the Humane Heroes summer camp is just all in a days work for him.
Max was in great company during Entertaining Animals Day. On the canine side, Slinky, a former court case dog who now has a forever home and has earned his Canine Good Citizen Certificate, also stopped by for a visit. Another special dog that came by was Dory (Dory’s story), who has been adopted by the Shedd Aquarium and is part of a very special show there.
Other guest “speakers” included the Chicago Police Department’s Mounted Unit (horses). And, we can't forget Guy the cat - who is the resident spokescat for The Anti-Cruelty Society - also made an appearance.
A variety of field trips are also part of the camp as the kids learn about the City Farm, wildlife at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center and the beach for a clean up day. The Imagination Theater also stopped by for a great anti-bullying message for the Humane Heroes.
Other camp options
There have been many summer camps throughout the Chicago-area this year from the South suburbs to the North Shore as well. They’ve covered a variety of topics from basic animal care, to pet adoption and rescue and puppy mills.
At the West Suburban Humane Society this week, the focus is on grooming future shelter volunteers this week with the Junior Volunteer Summer Camp. The program is aimed at 9 to 12 year olds and focuses on hands-on activities, crafts and games to educate the importance of shelters and shelter animals.
Some of the other fun activities will include Pet Care 101, a focus on Overpopulation, Dog Behavior, Cat Care, Animal Play Time and a visit from The Puppy Mill Project.
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