February 25, 2018
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“Top Dog” Dog Scouts of America Troop 159 Receives Silver President’s Volunteer Service Award

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Downeast Dog Scouts Volunteer Award

Once again the Downeast Dog Scouts have earned the Silver President’s Volunteer Service Award for the year 2012! The Downeast Dog Scouts Troop 159 is a 501c3 non-profit subgroup of the Dog Scouts of America that was established in September 2007 as an all-volunteer affiliate of the Dog Scouts of America. It is the first Dog Scouts of America troop in Maine, serving Hancock County. As a group, troop members gave 650 hours of service to their communities. Troop members Pier Carros and Denise Houseknecht earned individual Bronze President’s Volunteer Service Awards for completion of more than 100 hours of volunteer service. Troop leader, Robyn Douglas, also was awarded the Silver President’s Volunteer Service Award for completion of 336 hours of volunteer service.

Downeast Dog Scouts Troop 159 members and their dogs provided a total of 650 hours of service in activities such as: therapy dog visits, Children Reading to Dogs Programs, school visits, community educational activities, walkathons, and clean up days. Troop members visited as representatives of their respective therapy organizations at Mount Desert Island Hospital, Birch Bay Retirement Village, Tremont School, Northeast Harbor Library, Camp Beech Cliff, Blue Hill Library, Brooksville Public Library and Swans Island Library. Children Reading to Dogs Programs increase literacy skills and boost the self esteem of young readers. Imagine how relaxing and fun it is to cozy up to a warm and welcoming dog that loves to hear stories! Visiting therapy dogs also help to relieve stress, improve health and recovery from illness. Young and old alike have benefitted from the dogs’ endeavors!

In 2012 the Downeast Dog Scouts sponsored the Idita-Read program at the Tremont School and the Blue Hill Library. The incentive reading program was a tremendous success from all accounts by readers, parents, teachers and librarians. Children from the Blue Hill Library and Tremont School logged a total of 105,788 reading minutes or 1,763 hours of reading!

The Idita-Read is an incentive reading project for school age readers offered through the nonprofit World Wide Idea’s Read-A-Route Program. Mirroring Alaska’s biggest annual sled dog race, the Idita-Readers relied on reading minutes to travel the distance along the Iditarod trail from Anchorage to Nome.

Reading is the cornerstone of all learning and many of the dogs in the troop are Reading Education Assistance Dogs. The Idita-Read is a fantastic project for a group that loves dogs, the outdoors and the promotion of positive canine relationships through education and reading with children.

Community service is a fundamental part of the Downeast Dog Scouts mission. In 2012, the Downeast Dog Scouts participated in several walkathons: Idita-Walk, Dog Scouts of America Hike-A-Thon, Bark for Life Hancock County, Paws On Parade and Walk for Birch Bay Village. Troop member Pam Bourque and her dog Jillian provided reading programs at the Bangor Discovery Museum and an Early Childhood Education class at the College of the Atlantic. Pam is also a member of the Raising Readers Book Selection Committee. Raising Readers provides new books to Family Practice and Pediatric medical providers in Maine for preschool children at well child visits. Troop members also held an education program about Reading Education Assistance Dogs for interested community members.

During the 2012 holidays, the Downeast Dog Scouts again distributed bags of dog treats through local banks as a festive thank you to dog owners that include their dogs in their daily lives. The Downeast Dog Scouts participated in Take Pride in Acadia Day, when troop members clean up after less responsible dog owners at Little Long Pond in Seal Harbor, Maine.

For the fifth year, the Downeast Dog Scouts Troop 159 has been recognized as a “Top Dog Troop” for 2012 by the Dog Scouts of America. The Dog Scouts of America Troop Recognition Program rewards troops for being active and helping in their community. The Dog Scouts of America is a national 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about responsible dog ownership, the important role of the human/canine bond and to challenge people and dogs to learn how to better serve each other. All troops work toward the goals and mission of the Dog Scouts of America while focusing on the needs and interests of each local community. Information about the Dog Scouts of America is available at www.dogscouts.org

The Downeast Dog Scouts Troop 159 offers a local membership program for people who advocate responsible dog ownership and enjoy participating in dog centered activities. Troop members and their dogs learn new skills working toward the Dog Scouts of America merit badges. The Downeast Dog Scouts Troop promotes the positive treatment of animals, advocating only the most modern behavioral approaches to training. Promotion of responsible dog ownership and involvement in the community lies at the heart of this group. Maine is fortunate to have a thriving dog community in which dogs are largely involved in the lives of their people and the troop dogs are fine examples of the value that pets can have for families and the community at large.

For more information about joining the Downeast Dog Scouts contact Robyn Douglas at downeastdogscouts@yahoo.com or 207 266-5807.