When a group of local Girl Scouts were approached by the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation about a service opportunity, they were very excited about the project. Not surprisingly, the girls of Junior Troop 261 went above and beyond in their efforts to help local pets in distress.
"The girls are very motivated," says troop leader Denise Helms. "They've just had so much fun." To earn a bronze award, the 11- and 12-year-old girls are required to perform a community service project. The LDCRF presented an opportunity to the girls, who were thrilled at the chance to help animals. "Kids love animals," says Helms.
According to Helms, some of the girls' mothers had reservations about the project; they thought the girls should be involved in a project that helps people. "But dogs do so much to help people," explains Helms. "So we are helping people too."
THE TROOP'S efforts have evolved from simply making posters to packing doggie treat bags, making flyers and attending adoption fairs.
Although the troop members received their bronze award for their efforts on May 9 at Poplar Tree Elementary, many of the girls hope to keep working with the foundation.
Jessica Bogert and Annie Cecil are two members of the troop who plan to keep working with the LDCRF. "We've had a blast," says Jessica. "It makes you feel really good," says Annie, "especially when they get adopted."
The girls have spent a lot of time collecting supplies for dogs awaiting adoption. Helms drives the girls and the supplies to Fair Lakes PetSmart on Friday nights to deliver the supplies. They get to interact with the dogs and see the fruits of their efforts.
Many of the posters and flyers they've made have to do with adoption and pet care, according to Helms. Some encourage people to adopt kittens in pairs, or to be a foster pet parent. Others advertise events or aim to collect donations of supplies for lost pets. The girls take the time to put the flyers and posters up all over town.
"The Lost Dog volunteers are at PetSmart when we go, and they make a big to-do about the girls," says Helms. "They feel very appreciated."
Both Annie and Jessica knew firsthand the importance of pet adoption before they even began this project. Jessica's family adopted two dogs several years ago, a Shih Tzu off the street, and a pointer who was a cancer survivor, and is now healthy. Annie's family adopted a Golden retriever from the pound. "It really motivated me," says Jessica.