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Special camp in Arlee using rescue animals to help kids heal

Kids from all over the Flathead Reservation are attending a summer camp unlike any other this week
ARC Camp
Posted at 8:36 AM, Jun 20, 2024

ARLEE — Young kids are using the love of rescue animals to work through their own struggles at the Arlee Pawsitively Healing Camp.

“Providing a sanctuary where animals heal people and people heal animals, animals that are inspiring for them. And this camp is the animals healing people, part of it basically,” Flip Panusz explained.

Kids from all over the Flathead Reservation are attending a summer camp unlike any other this week.

“It’s the animals that are inspiring for them. It's the animals that draw the attention. It's the animals that make them feel better. They do the hard work in a way,” Panusz said.

Each day the kids are introduced to a different animal — who like kids are also healing.

“The focus of the camp is to provide support to kids who have experienced trauma,” Panusz told MTN.

For the kids, the focus is connection with the animals and on Tuesday, they interacted with rescue birds from Montana Wild Wings Recovery Center.

“Lessons that you can learn from a relationship that you build with an animal and transfer those to inter-human relationships, which is really quite special just because these kids are facing so many challenges,” Panusz said. “And to get the sense that they feel safe enough to have to build relationships here and to have a smile on their face.”

The Arlee Rehabilitation Center would like to extend the camp to more than once a year but they cannot do that without sponsors and community support. Visit https://k9arc.org/ for more information or to make a donation.