Blog : A Field Trip to Remember

By Sam Lane | Jun 9, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

A group of Traip Academy sophomores had an eye-opening experience during a recent field trip to Mary’s Dogs Inn.

The students from the Kittery, Maine school worked hands-on in every operational facet at the facility which is a boarding facility and quarantine stopover for rescue dogs from the South.

Mary Doane, who founded Mary’s Dogs in 2011, said she was happy to have the 10 students spend a full school day at the facility. It was the first field trip of its kind to the facility which opened in 2014. The field trip came at the end of a quarantine period for many of the 20 dogs in residence and Doane said the students saw how important and involved canine rescue work can be.

“They brought great energy and curiosity. It was so interesting to have that many young people around the Inn at the same time,” Doane said. “They were all helpful and got to take part in all the activities. They also learned about the mission of Inn and how we are doing what we can to change the culture (of often speedy euthanasia) in the South.”

The idea for the Mary’s Dogs field trip was initiated by Melinda Shofner, a school counselor at Traip Academy. Students take part in a Learning Service Project program which combines real-world experience with community service. Shofner has been a volunteer at Mary’s Dogs since February of 2014 and she thought it would be a great experience for the students.

 

“It was important for them to see the whole process and to understand the whole issue of rescuing dogs and raising funds to have them spayed and neutered in the South,” Shofner explained. “We began researching and planning in October and we talked about it for weeks.”

Shofner was pleased how the students took to their tasks and what they learned. “We rotated and went through the quarantine process, cleaned cages and raked the yard,” she said. “Unanimously, I heard back from them what a great day it was. They got to watch the dogs roll in the hay and learned how dire the situation is for so many. Some of cutest and most affectionate dogs were literally saved at the last minute.”

Traip Academy student Cecelia Driscoll said she was inspired by the field trip. “We really got some good insight on the dogs, about who and where they came from, how they're chosen from the shelters, all the shots they need to get before they're adopted, etc. There are a lot of stories behind every dog and it was really touching to hear some and be able to help out for people that take care of them so well,” Driscoll said. “The people there obviously loved their jobs and were doing everything in their reach to take care of the pups. It was very inspiring and it really felt like we were doing a good thing for a good cause.”

Mary’s Dogs is a business partner of the Green Alliance, a Portsmouth organization representing over 100 local green businesses, along with more than 4,000 consumer members. Doane found the old farm location in Northwood and opened it in 2014. The functional canine home was needed for dogs rescued from high-kill locations in the South following the passage of a 2012 law by the New Hampshire legislature. The new law mandated a 48-hour quarantine period for dogs at a licensed facility before heading to an adopting family,

Shofner believes the field trip created “10 new ambassadors” for Mary’s Dogs and the work Doane and her staff does. Doane said she could tell she made an impact with some of the stories.

“I told them that the adorable black Labrador they all loved was almost next in line to be euthanized before he was rescued,” she explained. “I think they were really surprised about why we had so many dogs. Now they can see the connection and understand the cultural differences.”

While the mission of Mary’s Dogs continues to evolve, Doane said she hopes it will be the first of many student field trips. “I hope that Melinda makes it a part of her curriculum and other schools can have the same kind of experiences,” Doane said. “The Traip students were great workers but the best part for us was to be able to share this with young people.”

Green Alliance members recieve a FREE gift basket complete with informational books, organic shampoo, wipes, and other accessories when you adopt a dog through Mary's Dogs!

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For More information on Mary's Dogs, visit their Business Partner page.