It’s Dog Days All Year Long
The dog is adorable. Her name is Carli. Carli is the proud owner of two humans, Rehoboth Mayor Stan Mills and his wife, Marcia. Stan and Marcia adopted Carli in February, 2021 (although Carli insists it was she who adopted them!). After having pets for 22 years in Rehoboth, the Mills’ lost two dogs in the past two years. Lonely in their new house with its fenced rear yard begging for a new dog, the couple went to the Brandywine Valley SPCA (BVSPCA) and brought Carli home with them. They pamper Carli endlessly. Carli approves.
The Mills family has adopted from the BVSPCA before and calls it a “great organization.” Carli thinks so too. She is one of thousands of lost, stray, owner-surrendered, and abused and neglected animals to be cared for by the group. In 2020 alone, the BVSPCA cared for more than 16,000 animals.
The BVSPCA is the first open-admission no-kill shelter in Pennsylvania and Delaware. As you might guess, Carli thinks that’s a big deal. In Delaware, animals are placed through four adoption centers, with the nearest to Rehoboth being its Georgetown Campus. In addition, the BVSPCA provides families with low-cost veterinary services at four clinic locations, again with the nearest being the Animal Health Center in Georgetown. Go to bvspca.org to find out about its other campuses.
The BVSPCA also operates the Animal Rescue Center, a facility dedicated to helping animals with additional needs prior to being ready for adoption, such as disaster victims, cruelty cases, and infants. Again, a big deal.
One of the organization’s favorite initiatives is its Critter Camp. At Critter Camp, young animal lovers ages seven to 12 learn special skills such as pet CPR (who knew that was a thing?), grooming, and behavioral training. They hear from guest speakers from the animal world (people, not animals), meet adorable and adoptable pets, and read to doggie companions.
The kids love Critter Camp. Some of the parent feedback: “The girls had so much fun that we have signed up to volunteer at the shelter,” “Thank you so much for a wonderful week!! Lexi had a great time and is anxious to sign up as a volunteer,” and “Thank you for a great week! Beckett had a good time and always came home with new facts to share!”. The animals love it too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any quotes from them.
If your child or children love animals and want to help animals in need, the BVSPCA Critter Camp is for them. There are scholarships available for those children who might not otherwise have a chance to attend camp, including children in foster care who participate in Delaware’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.
“This is an exciting first step towards what we hope will become a long-term strategic partnership between our organization and the CASA program,” said BVSPCA Chief Executive Officer Adam Lamb. “Critter Camp is one of our most popular initiatives.” Melissa Palokas, CASA State Director said, “These camps give a sense of normalcy and happiness to children who have experienced tremendous trauma.”
Foster children who participated in Critter Camp this year have reported back how happy they are with the experience. “After day one of Critter Camp, both of my foster kids could not wait to return the next day,” said Carol, a foster parent. The critters felt the same way about her kids.
BVSPCA holds its Critter Camps winter, spring, summer, and fall. The next session is a new Winter Break session (December 18 through 20) for kids ages seven through nine. Four locations hold Camps; the nearest to Rehoboth is at the BVSPCA-Georgetown Campus at 22918 Dupont Boulevard.
CAMP Rehoboth has many ties with BVSPCA through its adoption centers. Supporters, including BVSPCA’s Chief Executive Officer Adam Lamb, come to events at CAMP Rehoboth. Pets report that they have been adopted by many CAMP Rehoboth members.
One upcoming BVSPCA-sponsored event is the Bark on the Boards block party at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand on Saturday, October 16. Bring the whole family and enjoy such activities as a performance by the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus, a Dock Dogs competition, a kids’ fun center, and live performances that are sure to be fun for dogs and humans alike! Don’t forget to register and don’t worry—the BVSPCA will have adoptables ready and available to find new homes! For more information, go to bvspca.org.
Mayor Mills will be there. Many adoptable dogs will be there. If Carli feels like it, she might even attend. You be there, too. Carli and her friends may be out there waiting for you! ▼
Michael Gilles is a playwright, actor, and director from Milton, and a regular contributor to Letters from CAMP Rehoboth.