Bring a dog to the beach

Humane Society launches new volunteer programme

When Virginia Savoia learned of a new programme that encourages residents to take a Humane Society dog to the beach for a morning of fun and training, she was the first to sign up.

Virginia Savoia

Dog trainer Kenneth Morgan with demonstration dog Chester and volunteer Virginia Savoia with Olive, an 18-month-old mixed breed who was found as a stray and has been at the shelter since May. Photo: Jenny Gabruch

‘It’s a good experience,’ said the Italian national who moved to Cayman seven months ago.

‘I like the dogs, and I miss my own dogs so much – I couldn’t bring them here.’

Launched a few weeks ago, Bring a Dog to the Beach aims to draw new volunteers to give shelter animals a break and some basic training.

It’s spearheaded by Kenneth Morgan, a long-time Humane Society volunteer and obedience trainer.

‘I believe all dogs should be trained,’ said Mr. Morgan, who has more than 20 years experience in dog training.

The goal, he said, is to make a shelter dog’s transition to a new home smoother for both pet and owner. ‘It’s going to be easier for the owner to handle the dog.’

A well-behaved dog, he added, is much less likely to be returned to the shelter.

The programme invites volunteers to pick up a dog from the shelter and bring it to Royal Palms at 9.30am for an hour or so of exercise and training. A maximum of three shelter dogs are allowed, joining two other dogs with advanced training for demonstration purposes.

Volunteers are asked to commit to four Saturdays of training.

To join, volunteers first register at the Humane Society, and then stop by the shelter to pick up a dog assigned by shelter staff.

Training includes the basic commands of sit, come and stay along with heeling. In between the short training sessions, volunteers can take the pooch for a swim or a walk on the beach.

‘It’s a good break for the dogs to have some fun and also get in some training so when they do get adopted, it’ll be an easier fit for the owner and the dog,’ said Susan Gabruch, a 14-year Humane Society volunteer.

She noted those who can’t commit to the Saturday sessions have the option of participating in the shelter’s regular dog walking or Doggie Day Out programme.

She added when a dog is adopted out, it would be beneficial for the volunteer to meet with the pet’s new parent to share information about the animal.

FYI

To register for Bring a Dog to the Beach, contact the Humane Society at 949-1461 or email [email protected]

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