A long-running summer day camp at the Humane Society of Chittenden County in South Burlington, Vermont, teaches kids about proper pet care.
"I think it kind of opens their eyes totally to how much responsibility it is it take care of an animal," said Erin Alamed of the Humane Society of Chittenden County.
Camp Paw Paw runs several different sessions for kids aged 7 to 12.
Children learn about proper pet care and safety. They also meet with members of the community who work daily with animals, from police K-9 handlers to therapists and trainers.
"They're like, best buds for you," said camper Gianna Petrunich, describing why she likes animals.
When necn visited, the campers were honing their observation skills by examining insects.
"That sense of valuing other living organisms - I think it's really important," said ecologist Linden Higgins, who taught the kids some basics on identifying insects.
The goal of all the programming is to foster a deep respect for animals early, possibly setting the stage for decades of supporting animal welfare.
"You treat animals nicely, and carefully, and you treat them the way they want to be treated," said camper Adam Kavanaugh.
"They have hearts too, just like people, and they need help because they can't take care of themselves," Ava Desautels, another camper, said about animals.
For more information on the Humane Society of Chittenden County, you can visit their website.
Several pet adoption centers across Vermont are participating in necn's Clear the Shelters day this Saturday. Click here for more information.