When 11 year-old Emma Dowling’s family cat was missing, the only comfort was in knowing her mom had called the Clarke County Animal Shelter and that someone else was on the lookout for Shadow Kitty. Sadly, Shadow was elderly and had run off because he had become ill. With a heavy heart, and a case of too little to do that would take her mind off the loss of Shadow, Emma wished she could do something to help other animals. That is when things changed for this rising sixth grader, in a big way.
Clarke County schools encourage community service hours and once students enter sixth grade, they may turn in reflection logs of the hours of service they have offered the community. Emma and her friends recently heard about this at the Johnson-Williams Middle school orientation. Emma recruited her friends, Peter Russman, Dylan Vess, and Kaitlyn Bailey to help her start a Lemonade Stand in their Battlefield Estates neighborhood. The time spent would be considered community service because rather than keeping the proceeds, all of the money is earmarked for the Clarke County Humane Foundation. The first two days raised over $30.00. “One man said it was the best lemonade he ever had! He even came back on his motorcycle for more!” exclaimed Emma.
Peter and Emma couldn’t wait to deliver the first round of funds to the Clarke County Animal Shelter off Ramsburg Lane in Berryville. There they were met with the kindest folks like Jenny Wright, Brittany, and other volunteers. Who knew you could just visit and take a dog out for a walk around the Chet Hobert Park trail, or play with some kittens in the Paws & Claws daycare room? The more socialization, the better for the animals and their future “forever homes.”
Now, Peter and Emma have joined other volunteers with cleaning cat boxes, washing bowls, walking pets, even scooping! There is a wish list inside by the front door of items that are always needed. The cost to adopt a pet is only $10 and that includes spay/neutering thanks to the Clarke Humane Foundation. The shelter is open for visitors on Monday-Saturday from 9am to 4pm. Follow Ramsburg Lane (off Westwood Rd) all the way to the end and turn left.
Peter Russman is extra thankful for the experience this summer. After working at the lemonade stand and volunteering at the shelter, his family adopted two baby kittens! For a family that previously only had hamsters, this has been very exciting. “If it weren’t for the lemonade stand, I wouldn’t have Calvin and Tiger,” says Peter as he pats the sleeping kitten on his lap. Even Mrs. Trisha Russman found the shelter staff very helpful in answering her questions about caring for the newly adopted cats.
Of course, you don’t have to adopt to share your love for homeless animals. You can help in many ways. Keep your eyes peeled for the “Real” Lemonade stand and other groups working to raise funds to support your local animal shelter. The Clarke County Humane Foundation also plans to have an information table at the Clarke County Fair on August 8 – 14, 2010.