The Important Role Animals Play at Wekeela: Meet Ruby and Dunkin’ for Summer 2020!
October is such a great month in Maine. The leaves change from green to a cacophony (I think this is only for sound) of red, yellow, orange. The air becomes crisp and cool and the pumpkin spice and apples are in full harvest!
We were fortunate to visit camp during the first week of October and were overtaken by the beauty and tranquility of an empty Camp Wekeela. However, as we walked around camp, we were not alone. Two new members of the Wekeela family were introduced to Camp Wekeela for the first time as the Caflun family has two
brand new puppies who now get to call Camp Wekeela home! Ruby, Matthew’s Mini Australian Labradoodle, and Dunkin’, Jonathan’s Beagle Mix Rescue, had so much fun running around camp with Lucy and Lola! Having the pups running around camp for the first time let us reflect on the power that animals have at camp.
Camp Wekeela’s amazing nature program lets the campers play with, interact, and watch over goats, chickens, geckos, parrots, horses, and a bearded dragon. For many campers, this is a completely new experience. So many of our campers love learning and playing with these animals as it is therapeutic, interesting, and different. According to the Purdue University OHAIRE Lab, positive Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) have so many positive effects. “One component of Human-Animal Interaction is the Human-Animal Bond, which is often defined as a mutually beneficial relationship between people and animals that influences the health and well-being of both. According to research
, interacting with animals may improve our physical and mental health, as well as enhance aspects of our daily lives. Likewise, Human-Animal Interaction has shown positive results for some of the animals involved as well, including reduced anxiety and fear and health benefits (https://www.purdue.edu/vet/chab/ohaire/HAI.php). Allowing our children to interact with our animals at camp, whether in the nature department or the various dogs around Camp Wekeela, can create a sense of comfort, ease, and fun!
Another special aspect of the many dogs we have at Wekeela is the sense of home for children who may be homesick. In 2019 alone, Wekeela had more dogs than
ever. Lucy, Lola, Hank, and Scarlet loved to run around with the kids. Scarlet even offered Wekeela Hour Activities. Ephram’s Dog Club is a great source for campers who want to have a sense of comfort and relaxation, and can play with Lucy, Lola, and next summer we’ll add Ruby and Dunkin’ to the mix.
We are so thrilled to have a few new puppies running around Camp Wekeela in 2020, knowing that our campers will love and appreciate them as much as we do!