SYLMAR : Campfire Kids Bring Comfort to Guide Dogs


Dozens of dogs being trained to guide the blind will rest more comfortably thanks to the work of a group of Campfire Girls and Boys.

Led by Megan Mason, a 17-year-old from North Hollywood, Campfire groups citywide gathered 395 towels, blankets and other pieces of bedding and presented them to Guide Dogs of America in Sylmar on Tuesday.

The nonprofit group raises and trains dogs to guide vision-impaired and blind people. At any time, there are between 80 and 100 dogs and puppies being trained or boarded, said John B. Pettitt, president of the group.


Guide dogs can do amazing things once they are trained, said Pettitt, but keeping their bedding clean is not among them.

“This is a very important thing,” said Andi Krusoe, social service coordinator for the group. “Our linen and towel situation was getting very raggedy.”

In addition, some of the sheets and bedding will be used in the group’s dormitory, where future dog owners stay for a monthlong orientation before getting their dogs, Krusoe said.

Megan is earning the Campfire Girls and Boys’ highest award, the WoHeLo Medallion, through a variety of volunteer efforts, including Tuesday’s donation. She also volunteers to lead a younger Campfire group and helps out at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Megan originally wanted to volunteer with Guide Dogs of America, but workers said the donations would be more helpful.

“They said they can always use towels and blankets,” Megan said. “The puppies go through them like crazy.”


So, Megan drew up posters and leaflets, distributing them throughout the Los Angeles council’s numerous Campfire groups in September. Soon, she was literally blanketed with donations.

“One girl was really into it,” she said. “She got her whole school to donate.”

The dogs seemed to appreciate the gift, or at least appreciated the chance to frolic and press their cold noses against children. Mason brought along half a dozen Campfire Girls and Boys from the group she helps lead.

Kai, a lanky 18-month-old black Labrador, frantically beat his tail against the boxed and wrapped donations piled in the lobby of the group’s Sylmar facility. If he does well in his studies, Kai could be paired with a sight-impaired or blind owner in six months or so. Meanwhile, he was learning how to get along in the crowd of children.