NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – From an annual pasta dinner to a summer program called “Animal Camp,” the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford has a number of programs to help their furry friends and engage the community.
The director of the animal shelter, Laura Burban, stopped by the studio with some friends in need of a home to talk about the great programs they have at the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter.
Below is the information provided by the shelter on their programs:
The Pasta Dinner is an annual event that started in March of 2011 This event is a fundraiser that we host to raise money for our medical fund which helps to care for animals that need surgeries, animals that need antibiotics or special medications or animals that need specialty foods, in addition to other things they might need. Restaurants from around the shoreline donate Pasta, Salad and Bread to this event to help us raise as much money as possible. The people and the businesses across the shoreline are so generous with helping us to raise money and save as many animals as possible. At the pasta Dinner we also announce our Volunteer of the Year and any other awards that need to be given out. This year we have two community Service Awards that will be handed in addition to the Volunteer of the Year Award. We have between 50-75 volunteers a week some who work in the shelter and others who are outside helping with various things. So it is really important to us that we recognize the service that these people provide to the animals and also to the community as a whole. We take in about 550 animals a year including all of our critters so we could never do all that we do without our volunteers. The pasta dinner crowd is usually between 150-200 people and is like a big Italian Dinner with lots of food, lots of laughing and lots of dancing! This event is a blast for both kids and adults alike!
The Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter started Animal Camp in June 2010. The camp was born out of a desire that the Director had as a child to attend a camp that was based around animals .She always felt connected to animals in a way that was inherently strong and unique. She wished she could share that connection with other children like herself when she was little. But back when she was little there were no such camps, so she and her staff decided to create one. Many children all drawn to animals because of their loyalty and non-judgmental behavior. Animals are consistent, inclusive, understanding and allow children to feel as though they fit in no matter what. Animal Camp is a place where all children can feel welcome to share their passion for animals and feel like they belong.
Animal Camp is a fun, hands on educational camp that teaches children ages 6 years old to 12 years old about respecting all living creatures ( including each other). Children from all over the state will come together at this camp to meet and share their common theme of loving animals. Animal Camp allows children to be kids again- exploring the outdoors, interacting with bugs and trees, touching and learning about all sorts of unusual creatures from Tarantulas, to Skunks to Wolves. They will also learn all about what FLEMDS is! This camp allows children to be interactive with animals in a way they might otherwise have not. Animal guests come on a daily basis and can range from baby alligators, wallaby’s or great horned owls. They will also take a weekly field trip to awesome animal places like the Wolf Conservation Center, Action Wildlife Foundation or Ray of Light Farm and many others. What makes this camp so unique and special is the positive based theme we teach children regarding all living creatures. We teach kids to not only respect programs like reduce reuse and recycle and how that positively impacts the planet including wild animals, domestic animals and us, but we also teach them about how being more compassionate about animals leads into speaking and acting more compassionately towards each other.
This program focuses on recognizing the kids when they achieve positive behaviors. One example of this would be a child named Susie who may be having a hard time doing a craft and another child named Mary steps in to say I can help you with that ( and Mary does it all on her own just to be kind). The Camp Counselors than say Look Everyone Mary was caught doing something good- the counselors then break out into a dance and give Mary a caught doing good bracelet and all the kids clap. The rest of the week all of the kids are trying to be caught doing good things…..from cleaning up garbage on the ground, to including someone who may be feeling left out, to saying something kind just to make someone feel good. We believe the more we instill kids with encouragement and praise for their good behaviors, the easier it will be for them to remember to do it again just because it feels good.
Animal Camp is a way for children to express their love and passion for animals all while learning how we are all connected and need to respect and be considerate to the ecosystems and to our environment as a whole.
To learn more about the programs and the shelter you can go to http://www.branford-ct.gov/animalshelter/