Cadette Girl Scout Troop 11967, Camp Hill, is spending the dog days of summer by whelping a litter of puppies for the Susquehanna Service Dogs, an organization that trains and provides service and hearing dogs to assist children and adults to become more independent.
Troop 11967 is completing their Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn, by organizing and implementing a community service project to make their community a better place.
Whelping Caretaker volunteers are responsible for the care and wellbeing of a litter of puppies in their own homes. The Girl Scout troop will take care of the puppies for roughly eight weeks during the whelping stages.
This project is not just about playing with puppies. “A girl cannot goof around with these puppies,” said Jocelyn from Troop 11967. “The puppies are not ours and we have a job to do.”
The Girl Scouts will be responsible for taking care of the young puppies, cleaning them, maintaining their whelping box, and socializing the puppies prior to sending them to other Susquehanna Service Dog volunteers called Puppy Raisers.
The Girl Scouts will be developing key leadership skills like teamwork and responsibility as they complete their project, an estimated 50 hours per Girl Scout. Even though Troop’s litter was only born on July 12th, the troop is already working with SSD to get trained and prepared, collecting supplies like newspapers, towels and toys; as well as, help promote SSD and its volunteer needs. The Girl Scout Troop started promoting their work with through social media efforts, blogs, and billboard public service announcements. They have also been posting guest blogs about their experience at the Susquehanna Service Dog Blog.
“The problem in Camp Hill is that we are not aware of the puppy raisers needed to help the program,” said Isabella from Troop 11967 who said that she is going to take to Snapchat and Instagram to document the puppies’ progress.
“One of Susquehanna Service Dogs’ (SSD) most critical needs are Puppy Raiser volunteers. These Girl Scouts understood our need and initiated a very important awareness campaign for us to help recruit volunteers, in addition to whelping a litter of puppies as a troop,” said Pamela Foreman, Director of SSD. “We are already seeing the benefit of our program!”
The Girl Scout Troop is enjoying their experience so far and excited for others to get involved. Ava said, “By being an SSD volunteer, people will not only be tasked with work and fun, but will also play a big role in the community.” To learn more about SSD and how to get involved as a volunteer visit the Keystone Human Services website at http://www.keystonehumanservices.org/susquehanna-service-dogs/default.php
Girl Scouts in grades K-12 take the lead to make a difference in their communities every single day. To find out more about becoming a Girl Scout or to sign up to become a volunteer, visit www.gshpa.org.