In the morning we packed up our things, tearfully left the puppies at Doglando (no pets allowed at the Zoo!) and went to the Brevard Zoo to see how people work with other animals. We got to see meerkats and siamangs and even meet some giraffes on the Zoo’s giraffe-eye-level feeding platform. Everybody got to feed a giraffe a lettuce leaf. The giraffe’s head was almost as long as some of the campers were tall!
When we got home we went swimming very quickly one last time and then went to work cleaning out the barn for graduation which started promptly at 4:00. Almost 50 people were there, including everybody’s parents and even members of the community interested in adopting the campers’ dogs. For the graduation presentation every camper showed a video about his or her dog, and then all the campers got up, got their dogs, and demonstrated all the things we learned over the last two weeks. Everybody did great, at door exercises, crate exercises, cone exercises, bed exercises and even at loose leash walking! We have all learned so much!
At the end of the day we paused to say goodbye to our camp dogs. These dogs come to us from local shelters (in this case, Pet Rescue by Judy) and for two weeks, the dogs think that this is their new life, and we are their new owners. We are very sorry that we now have to make the dogs sad by sending them back to the shelter, but dogs who have been trained at Camp Doglando always eventually get adopted, and are never sent back to the shelter once they are adopted — they have great training and great manners and every single one of them is fantastic with kids, a wonderful pedigree to get them the best new homes and keep them there.
On the bright side, Bella’s new family was here today to take her home after graduation, and Steven’s family adopted Diesel, who also went home right then and there! Five other dogs have meet and greets scheduled soon. Success!