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Forget boy and girl scouts – your dog could be a dog scout!

You’ve likely heard of boy scouts and girl scouts which have both existed for over 100 years but have you heard of dog scouts?

Robert Verdahl's dog Jasper (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The Dog Scouts of America has actually been around for 13 years and continues strong with 38 troops in 22 states across the country. They can earn badges, run cookie drives, and have camp outs just like their human counterparts.

The organization has about 80 badges and dogs are only required to earn the first badge, called the Dog Scout badge, which is for basic obedience. The variety of badges include water-related badges such as swimming and boating as well as earth badges for rescue, retrieval, and racing.

An article in Mercury News describes the earth dog badge. “[The badge,] mostly for terriers, is awarded if a dog stays focused while chasing a (protected) rat into an 8-foot earth tunnel, negotiates a 90-degree turn and continues the chase through another 8-foot tunnel without losing interest in the quarry.”

Dog Scouts also participate in community service, raising about $10,000 a year for the Salvation Army, among other local charity work. The “Clean Up America” badge encourages dogs and their humans to pick up after other dogs on trails and in parks.

The organization has two mottos, one 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.” And one for dogs: “Let us learn new things that we become more helpful.”

Does your dog want to be a Dog Scout? The cost is only $25 per year. Learn more about membership on their website at dogscouts.org.

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