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Youth reach out to help abused dogs, cats

ROME TOWNSHIP — They knew a helping hand when they saw it. Or rather a lot of helping hands and they all came from the generous hearts of the second graders of Trena Sowards’ class at Fairland East.

That’s what the dogs and cats who have gotten a second chance by Little Victories Animal Rescue Group saw when Sowards class showed up at the Little Victories farm to offer their donation to the group.

“All the dogs were barking,” Colin McKinley, a Fairland second grader, said. “They were really excited. They wanted us to adopt them.”

Little Victories is a Huntington, W.Va.-based volunteer organization that takes abused and unwanted cats and dogs and finds new good homes for the animals. Until the animals are adopted, they stay with volunteers in foster homes or on the farm.

Students in Sowards class collected a variety of supplies for the shelter from pet food and treats to collars and leashes to dog beds to pet cages.

“We had a tableful of stuff,” Sowards said.

Collecting the items was the class’s contribution to the Make a Difference Project that is going on at the school, where classes and students come up with ways to help each other.

“I have a soft spot in my heart for animals,” Sowards said. “Without us domestic animals are helpless. They need people to do for them. I think that animals deserve to be treated with respect. (People) aren’t always told to treat animals well.”

On Saturday the class took its contribution to the farm, which was the day for the groundbreaking for the first permanent shelter house at the farm. That came about when onetime Huntington resident Donna B. Wellman made a $250,000 donation that will go exclusively for building the structure.

Little Victories founder Sue Brown welcomed the children and said later that what they did was a vital to the organization’s work as any other contribution.

“That is just as important what the kids are doing. That is as important as anything because the kids are our future,” she said. “I told someone that kids get it more than adults. If we can get them to hold onto that love and feeling for animals as adults then we won’t have that problem (of abuse).”

Those wanting to help Little Victories, especially with its food and vet bills, may do so by sending donations to Little Victories Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 247, Barboursville, W.Va. 25504.