Boston.com - Dog Scouts of America have badges, campouts and troops in 22 states. There are 682 Dog Scouts who belong to 38 troops across the country.
The organization has around 80 badges, but not all dogs can
earn all badges, said DSA President Chris Puls of Brookville, Ind. Dogs are not required to earn badges beyond
the first one, for basic obedience called the Dog Scout badge.
The organization was founded by Lonnie Olson 13 years ago. Kozette,
Olson’s boxer mix nicknamed ‘‘Kozi,’’ is a model Scout with about 45 badges.
Olson's 80-acre St. Helen, Mich., property is converted into one of numerous weeklong camps every summer. Puls is a former police officer who teaches and certifies badges at all the camps.
She has three dogs who have earned 122 badges between them.
One, a 12-year-old cattle dog named Coyote, is retired with 48 badges.
‘‘These are not ‘gimme’ badges, not a walk in the park,’’ Puls said. ‘‘A dog with a lot of badges has put a lot of time and training into it.’’
The Scouts have two mottos. For humans: ‘‘Our dogs’ lives are much shorter than our own. We should help them enjoy their time with us as much as we can.’’ For dogs: ‘‘Let us learn new things that we become more helpful.’’
Both serve as inspiration for the group’s grossest badge:‘‘Clean Up America.’’ It consists of picking up piles left behind by other dogs on trails, parks and beaches.
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Written by Sue Manning/AP