Two St. Bernards bring smiles and education to ‘Critter Kiddz’
■ Riverside County Department Animal Services
Two St. Bernard dogs visited the Riverside County Department of Animal Services Critter Kiddz Camp on July 9. Campers also participated in other animal-related activities the rest of the week.
The two week-long summer camp is part of an education program at Riverside County’s Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley. The camp is coordinated by the Animal Solutions Konnection (ASK) Foundation, a nonprofit organization working toward assisting homeless pets and programs within the county’s shelters.
Mary Henry and Kaylene Mikulski, two long-time educators, are the instructors for Critter Kiddz Camp. They use arts-and-crafts programs and education components that give children knowledge about various animals.
This week’s theme is all about working animals, hence the special visit by St. Bernard buddies, Luther and Emma, both no more than two years old. St. Bernards are famous for their rescue efforts in the St. Bernard Pass between Italy and Switzerland.
The campers learned about the breed’s history of heroic rescues finding snow-buried travelers that had become victims in major storms or avalanches. The dogs are known for digging through snow and providing warmth to people while a second dog would alert rescuers.
This week’s activities continued with a visit from Guide Dogs of the Desert on Wednesday and a team of border collies showing off their herding skills on Thursday. An upcoming showcase by explosive detection dogs will be happening on Friday, July 13.
Next week’s theme is Fast & Furious, Slinky & Slow. This will include a visit from a tortoise and a rabbit on Monday July 16, Reptile Day on Tuesday, and a special presentation by Wild Wonders on Wednesday that will include a fennec fox, honey bear, armadillo and an anteater. Finally on Thursday, a miniature horse and donkey, both therapy animals, will visit the campers. The camp will wrap up with a presentation about the shelter’s cats, including the felines that have been designated as “working cats.”
For more information about the camp visit: www.rcdas.org/index.php/component/k2/item/328-critter-kiddz-camp-2018