The dog days of summer

Hazelwood students learn about dogs, pet ownership
By Rachel Robles, Lifestyles editor | Jul 15, 2014
Photo by: Rachel Robles LEARNING ABOUT MAN'S BEST FRIEND — A group of students get acquainted with Pate, a Shetland sheep dog, after an agility demonstration.

The Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association (WCDFA) recently spent the morning at Hazelwood Elementary teaching students about dogs and responsible pet ownership.

The WCDFA is an American Kennel Club association dedicated to promoting canine events and doing community outreach programs like the one at the school.

“This club never ceases to amaze me,” said Nancy Davis, with the WCDFA. “The kids' day event went off without a hitch, and the children had a blast while learning a lot at the same time.”

Approximately 45 kids were divided into three groups and rotated to four different stations where they learned about dog-related topics. The children were also able to meet 12 dogs of 10 different breeds.

At the meet and greet station, the children were taught how to approach and greet a friendly dog as well as what not to do. For example, one of the first lessons the children learned was to never pet a person’s dog without first asking permission as some dogs are not friendly around children and/or strangers. The children took this lesson to heart, as they were soon heard asking, “Can I pet your dog?” as they met the different dogs at the station.

The children also received written materials about responsible pet ownership, rescue and various dog topics to take home with them.

The children enjoyed this station the most as they were able to meet and pet a variety of dogs, including a 150-pound Irish wolfhound named Finnian and a rescued German shepherd named Kinly.

At the agility station, the kids learned a little about the sport of agility. Davis asked the kids whether they thought it was possible for a dog to run through such a course and invited them to try out the course for themselves.

They met three dogs, a toy poodle named Ginger, a toy fox terrier named Kit, and Davis’s Shetland sheepdog named Pate. All three dogs ran the course to the delight of the children.

At the obedience station, the children learned about the importance of training dogs and were able to see a fun demonstration of advanced obedience skills like directed retrieval and off-leash heeling.

The two dogs at this station were Sonny, an Italian greyhound, and a stylish toy poodle named Taylor.

And at the tracking station, the children learned about how dogs use their noses to track people and animals. A volunteer was chosen to help lay a track and hide and then wait with a volunteer for the dog to find them.

One of the dogs they met was an American Kennel Club champion Weimaraner named Sky.

“I want to thank everyone who came, donated two hours of their valuable time, and did such an amazing job,” said Davis.

For more information about the Western Carolina Dog Fanciers Association and their programs, visit www.wcdfa.org.

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