They perform community service, earn badges, go camping, and host bake sales.
Nope, we’re not talking about Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts — we’re talking about the Dog Scouts of America!
Founded 13 years ago by dog lover Lonnie Olson, the organization strives to improve the lives of others while improving the lives of our canine companions.
The Dog Scouts — of which there are currently 682 nationwide, in 38 troops — help raise money for charity while earning badges for acts of achievement.
There are 80 badges, but not all dogs can earn all of them. For instance, the jumping badge, which requires that dogs jump twice their height, isn’t recommended for bigger or longer-bodied dogs. However, all dogs are required to earn the Basic Obedience badge.
Owners say that the rewards of Dog Scouts are countless, helping their furry friends become better dogs.
Just ask Jasper, the three-year-old Collie-Lab mix member of Troop 198, who has earned his Disaster Preparedness badge. “We go outside, and I know he’s going to be safe,” Jasper’s human, Misti Verdahl, says. “If there’s an emergency, I know he will listen to me.”
Story and photos via The Columbus Dispatch