In addition to our usual horses and goats, ThorpeWood is now (temporarily) home to seven 10 week old basset puppies. They have come to us by way of my parents, who have a pack of bassets on their little farm in New Jersey. Through their nonprofit, the Center for Rural Preservation which seeks to reunite the public with land-based rural activities and sports, they have loaned us this litter of hounds to share with our Head Start ‘friends’. This exchange goes two ways as our three and four year olds get to meet and love our darling puppies while the puppies get well socialized with people and become fearless as they wander the farm, meeting all the scary things they’ll encounter later in life (horses, goats, trucks, other dogs, etc).
In trying to best explain the symbiotic relationship between ThorpeWood and the Center for Rural Preservation, I asked the latter’s vice president, John Gilbert (my dad), for a comment on this puppy loan:
“The Center for Rural Preservation is pleased it is able to make a litter of hound puppies available to ThorpeWood’s outdoor educational program. A rich, textured view of the natural world reveals itself when young children and hound puppies together explore its fields, streams and woodlands for perhaps the first time. Certainly, experiencing the outdoors through the sensitive, inquisitive noses of hound puppies helps children and adults alike to more fully connect with and embrace the outdoors, all while building a sense of empathy for animals.”
His words about exploring the natural world are especially relevant to this past summer, when we had a similar exchange (this time foxhound puppies). During summer camp, our Head Start ‘friends’ explored the farm in small groups, accompanied by a puppy on a leash who led the way. The puppies were also featured in one of our ThorpeWood-original stories, The Tail of the Six Foxhound Puppies, and the accompanying activity: painting the puppy pen! This fall, the basset puppies will partake in similar adventures, all of which will be detailed in coming blogs!