BLACKFOOT — What the Mangum brothers wanted was a dog. What they gained was a summer of experience and a Summer of Service Award from ABC.
Starting in June, Braden Mangum, 13, an eighth grader at Snake River Junior High, and Tracen Mangum, 11, a sixth grader at Snake River Middle School, worked at the Blackfoot Animal Shelter. Since school has started, they continue to work each Friday at the shelter.
The shelter is open from 12 noon to 1 p.m., each weekday, Monday through Friday.
The brothers help socialize the dogs by brushing them, playing with them and helping the shelter by cleaning up their poop.
"We take pictures of the dogs and with us playing with the dogs and then put the photos on Facebook and social media," Braden said.
"Eight hundred dogs were euthanized at the shelter during 2012; this year 35 dogs have been euthanized," he said. "Our goal for next year is zero dogs euthanized."
So what have they learned?
"I learned a pet comes with a lot of responsibility," said Braden. "You have to clean up the dog poop, walk the dog, feed him regularly, give him clean water and brush him."
"I learned how to do stuff like being gentle with dogs," said Tracen. "Don't over rush the dog, like trying to make him do something he doesn't want to do. It takes time to train a dog.
"We make it easy for people to adopt dogs," said Tracen. "People can look on the internet for dogs. We show pictures of them."
Their Facebook address is Braden and Tracen's Project Save a Pet.
Sponsored by Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue, Chief of Police Kurt Asmus, the Blackfoot Police Department and the Animal Shelter, the brothers entered a contest sponsored by ABC. The brothers were selected for the 2013 Summer of Service Award.
They won $1,000 that goes to the Blackfoot Animal Shelter to update the facilities.
Braden and Tracen can qualify for an additional $5,000 to go towards their project if they can involve the community in their efforts to raise money to upgrade the Blackfoot Animal Shelter. Donations of materials are also accepted.
Their first donation was a park bench from Cal Ranch. The bench will be placed in the play yard so people can socialize with the dog as soon as a concrete pad is placed.
Further goals for the animal shelter are to add on to the building.
"We need a quarantine area," said Amanda Cevering, animal control officer for Blackfoot. "If an animal is sick, we need to be able to quarantine him so the other animals won't get sick."
A storage area, a detached office, a meet and greet room for people and pet to interact are further goals.
"We don't have enough room," said Cevering.
"I'm a certified dog trainer," she said. "Dogs can learn new tricks."
Stray animals come into the shelter from all over Bingham County, from Shelley to Aberdeen and some from Fort Hall. The area covers 2,100 square miles.
It costs $110 for dogs to adopt a dog from the shelter, said Cevering. All dogs are spayed or neutered and come with all shots.
It costs $50-$65 to adopt a cat, she said.
Janet Gay is the animal control officer for Bingham County.
If interested in adopting a pet, call (208) 785-6897 to make an appointment.
People can donate by going to the Blackfoot Animal Shelter on Facebook (please designate Project Save a Pet) or email Braden and Tracen Mangum at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Members of the Blackfoot City Council will recognize Braden and Tracen for their work on Tuesday, Oct. 1.