Thanks to local SPCAs and other humane organizations, lucky kids can attend camp to learn about animal care, handling, and welfare while the shelter residents get to enjoy all of the positive attention and socializing.

Kids today have it so good. So much for the tired pot-holder crafts and games of tag of our childhood summer camps, today’s kids go to Pet Camp. Now, all over the country, kids who love animals get to spend their summer days in their good company.

Thanks to local SPCAs and other humane organizations, lucky Pet Campers experience the joy of puppy petting and crafting kitty toys, the responsibility of kennel cleaning, and important lessons on honoring animal boundaries and personal space. There are even programs for older kids that get them behind the scenes with shelter veterinarians and working with professional trainers to teach shelter dogs obedience and agility training. Older kids can even become camp counselors too.

There’s some big thinking behind this first-hand experience with animals in need. Ultimately, Pet Camps strive to teach compassion, respect, and responsibility for all living things. They’re teaching our future animal advocates these values and enhancing their love and understanding of animals at the right time – an early age.

The shelter animal stars of Pet Camp aren’t complaining. All that delicious socialization and positive attention boosts their adoptability appeal (not to mention improves shelter life). No wonder they call them the dog days of summer.

Many camps fill up fast, but if the kids in your life aren’t enrolled yet, it’s probably not too late. Check out the websites below for details, dates, everything you need to know about just some of Pet Camps we found. To find more camps, check with your local humane organization or search online for ‘pet camp for kids’ or ‘SPCA summer camp.’

Most camps are for kids age 6 and older although some are available for the 4- and 5-year-olds. If your summer plans or camps are already booked, know many organizations offer camps during winter, spring and other school breaks.

The Scoop:

Below are just some of the SPCA Animal Camps available for kids of all ages this summer, and many have programs year-round.

Houston SPCA (check out them out on Instagram too)

San Diego Humane Society

SPCA Los Angeles

San Francisco SPCA

Humane Society Silicon Valley

Sonoma Humane Society

Humane Society of Missouri

East Bay SPCA

SPCA of Westchester, NY

New Hampshire SPCA

Kentucky Humane Society

Capital Area Humane Society, Michigan

Thanks to the Houston SPCA for the photo.