With the help of the Greenwich Police and experts from local animal nonprofits, Greenwich Cadette Girl Scout Troop 50126, all 10 of whom are seventh-graders, earned their Animal Helpers badge.
Girl Scout Troop 50126 set up a series of online educational interviews, the first of which featured Alan Gunzburg and Kili from the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation.
Mr. Gunzburg explained his retinitis pigmentosa disability and how he came to have a guide dog to help him navigate his surroundings. The troop learned about the guide dogs’ training process.
Marla Riley, president and founder of “The Riley Rescue Farm, granted the troop a subsequent online interview. Girls asked Ms. Riley about the farm animals that were abandoned, unhealthy, or unwanted that found a home with her organization.
Animals keeping people safe was the topic of following online meetings. Chris Chorney from Disaster And Wilderness Ground Searchers, Inc. (D.A.W.G.S.) described how their organization helps find lost people or people in need of help in the woods of Connecticut.
The troop learned that the D.A.W.G.S. dogs will go through a two-year training to receive the certification that allows them to go looking for lost people. Another online meeting featured Greenwich Police Officer Keith Scorca and K9 Officer Kato, who demonstrated how the Greenwich K9 Unit can keep humans safe.
Girls were also able to complete an experiment that taught them about mine-sniffing rats.
Sarah Haring, a small animal emergency veterinarian who was hosted in an online presentation by Girl Scouts of Connecticut, described her career to the girls. She also spoke about the role of animals in technology and as people-helpers of the future.
Cadette Girl Scout Riona McKersie said, “It was really amazing all of the things we learned during this badge. We were able to learn about how animals help those who are lost, have a disability or simply how they can help a family. Although I don’t have a pet, I definitely feel the connection between animals in humans in many different ways, and this badge helped me realize that!”
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