Last year as I was working at a local animal shelter I was called down to the front desk to meet someone who had dropped in for a visit. Apparently, they had come to know us from watching Animal Planet’s Underdog to Wonderdog. As I came down the steps to the storefront adoption center I saw a little girl and her mother standing at the front desk. The woman looked at her daughter and said, “It’s Andrea!” I walked over to introduce myself and she explained to me that her 5 year-old daughter, Amelie, was a fan of the show and the rescue work we do. While they were visiting the city from out of state, she wanted to stop in to drop off a donation.
At this moment, Amelie pulled out a little plastic sandwich bag filled with change and a couple of dollar bills. At just 5 years-old, Amelia had chosen to save up her allowance to bring in to donate to the animal shelter. As you can imagine, it was a special moment. This lovely little girl had chosen to offer her allowance to help animals in need. I accepted the donation on behalf of the shelter and ceremoniously handed it over to Tracy who was behind the desk. Making eye contact with her and everyone else who was in the area of the front desk, I could see that they were equally moved by the moment.
Shelters all across America try their best to make people aware of the pet overpopulation problem, of the fact that animals should be spayed and neutered, that people should consider the adoption option, and that volunteering or donating is a wonderful way to help shelters help as many animals as possible. But, to see that a little girl like Amelia already has an awareness of some of this is the ultimate goal. It is an indication that future generations may play a huge part in changing animal welfare.
I signed a copy of one of my books and gave it to Amelie, a small token of thanks for what seemed to all of us at the shelter like a very grand gesture for a little girl. My only regret about the moment was that I was so surprised by it that I didn’t take the opportunity to get a photo of her and her Mom. It would be nice to have as a way for all of us to remember that more and more people, even very young ones, are there to help animals.