Meet the Dog Scouts!

It is important to be a good citizen, to do well in your community and help others. It’s as true for people as it is for pets. You know about the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, right? Did you know that across 22 states there are 682 Dog Scouts?

Lonnie Olsen founded the non-profit Dog Scouts of America (DSA) in 1995. The organization is dedicated to enriching the lives of dogs and their owners, promoting animal health, and using positive dog training to enrich communities. Dogs can earn as many as 80 badges for learning good behavior elements and tricks, but the most important badge is the first one, for basic obedience.

From the Mercury News:

Community service is part of any good Scout program, Olson said. The DSA members make about $10,000 a year for the Salvation Army and participate in several Christmas projects. Most troops also work with local groups to do whatever is needed in their hometowns.

Olson’s 80-acre St. Helen, Mich., property is converted into one of numerous weeklong camps every summer. Puls is a former police officer who teaches and certifies badges at all the camps. She has three dogs who have earned 122 badges between them. One, a 12-year-old cattle dog named Coyote, is retired with 48 badges.

The Dog Scouts of America don’t have just one motto; they have two! The first is just for humans: “Our dogs’ lives are much shorter than our own. We should help them enjoy their time with us as much as we can.” The second is for the dogs: “Let us learn new things that we become more helpful.”

 

Photo credit: Dog Scout Jasper of Santa Clara, Calif. AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

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