Dog Scout troops pop up across South Florida

Dogs earn badges, take part in activities

PLANTATION, Fla. - The Boy Scouts are always prepared, and Girl Scouts sell their world famous cookies, but have you heard of Dog Scouts?

It's a talented troop of pooches based in South Florida that earn badges for some "human" behaviors.

Champ, an English bulldog, played lead guitar in Dog Scouts of America Troop 157's band recent practice, Ripley sings lead and plays tambourine.

Both canines are working towards a badge.

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"It's a great activity. You're with people who love their dogs. They want to stay active themselves along with their dogs," said Teresa Irvine, Ripley's owner.

Cindi Stone helped start the troop five years ago with four other dog lovers. Now, there's more than 70 members.

"We don't sell anything. We promote community awareness in positive relationships, and that's what we're about," said Stone. "Just creating that positive relationship with each other, and the community."

Ten dogs and their owners recently met at Heritage Park in Plantation as they worked on drill team maneuvers to perform in public.

"We want the whole community, even those who don't have dogs, to say, ‘Oh, you know what, dogs are really neat and they can be fun,'" said Stone.

Champ may be the "Renaissance Man" of the troop. Besides playing music, he also paints. His art has been sold with money going to animal rescue.

"The grand total came to almost $700 for four paintings. His highest selling one was around $350," said Neely Waring, who rescued Champ three years ago. "We're just starting to learn to play the guitar, so absolutely he's a better painter, but I foresee a rock star in his future."

Joining Dog Scouts is cheap: $25 a year and activities are inexpensive, too. If you're interested, the troop is having a "Howl-a-ween Pawty" on October 21st.

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