The Louisiana SPCA recently completed its 2013 session of Care Cadet Camp, for children entering sixth or seventh grade who want to learn how to be humane educators to their peers.

Each day was filled with presentations, including visits from shelter department managers, veterinarians, exotic pet experts, a therapy dog handler and a service dog trainer. Field trips included a trip to horse stables, where the kids mucked stalls and learned about caring for large animals, and Southeast Veterinary Specialists, a state of the art hospital where they learned about animal rehabilitation and specialty care.

Working in teams, the cadets were assigned a shelter dog or cat to train. Under the guidance of a professional trainer, they turn these cute and cuddly balls of energy into well-behaved, adoptable companions. Many Care Cadet alumni continue visiting the shelter as volunteers.