Beck the Therapy Dog made a special visit out to Shawnee Forest’s Camp Oyo over the weekend, where he made several new friends as part of Camp Au-some.
Camp Au-some was a first-time summer camp offered through the Autism Project of Southern Ohio (APSO). The three-day camp brought out more than 50 autistic children and their families to stay in the Camp Oyo cabins, roast marshmallows, tell campfire stories and participate in a weekend adventure many of the children have never been able to experience prior.
The purpose of the three-day camp was to help these campers feel included in an event that may be normal for some children but that these children would not normally be able to participate in due to health needs.
“Beck did tricks for the kids, shook hands with everyone who wanted to shake hand and then read a book for the kids before their evening campfire,” Owner and Trainer Kathi Jo Zornes, of Rarden, stated. “Beck is a sponsor of APSO as well as a friend to all the children who come to APSO meetings.”
Beck, whose full name is Colonel Charles Beckwith, is a little, mixed breed hound dog who is not only a therapy dog but also does tricks and holds more than 22 titles.
Beck was accompanied by his family Kathi Jo, Brandon and Allison Zornes, who are also his trainer/handlers. Kathi Jo explained that when she was first contacted about bring Beck out to the camp to visit with the children, she was eager to say yes.
Beck had forgotten his Snoopy book that he typically reads at such events. However, a camper let him read one of her favorites – a book from the Twilight Series.
In addition to meeting with Beck, campers also rode horses (some for the first time), played corn hole, went canoeing, and explored the local creeks.
“Those kinds of events aren’t easily found for autistic kids,” Kathi Jo commented. “I think they did awesome!”
For more information about APSO and APSO events, visit their Facebook page by searching for the Autism Project of Southern Ohio. To see Beck in action doing some of his tricks, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0NhKEPV3po.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.