Every Sunday morning, 20 or so dogs from the Cayman Islands Humane Society go on a special outing to the beach. Much as they love the break from the small spaces they live in at the shelter, this beach break is not only for frolicking in the sea – they’re there to learn.
Dog trainer Kenneth Morgan runs dog training sessions on the beach each week, to teach the (sometimes boisterous) canine cuties how to walk on a leash, stop, sit, lie down and so on. The idea is that by getting the dogs trained to a certain standard it will make them more adoptable in the long run. In the shorter term, they clearly love not only an hour or two on the beach, but also the chance to show off their newly acquired skills.
Volunteers go along as handlers – one dog to a handler – and spend an hour or so helping train the dogs. No experience is necessary and it’s a great way to spend some time on the beach in the company of exceptionally friendly and affectionate dogs.
Volunteers tend to stick with the same dog each week – until such time as he or she is adopted – thereby building up a rapport. Volunteer handlers have the option of meeting the dogs at the beach or collecting their dog from the animal shelter themselves and dropping it back there later.
This gives them the opportunity to keep the dog on for a little longer to enjoy some canine company. They may choose to take the dog home for the day or just let him or her burn off some energy at the beach. Some volunteers will take the dogs for a sleep over – you can pick up a dog after work on Friday, or on Saturday, and have a doggie house guest for the weekend. Dogs are handed over complete with all the supplies they need for a sleep over and it does them the world of good to spend even a night in a loving home.
Dog training takes place every Sunday at 11am on Public Beach (next to Calico Jacks). Anyone wishing to volunteer can contact Susan by e-mail on [email protected]