Students at Sandy Creek Middle School had some very special visitors at the school recently to kick off a community service project to benefit Paws Across Oswego County.
The visitors, Sawyer and Charlotte, along with their owners Marjorie Wentworth and Connie Evans visited the school to talk about the rescue service that Paws provides for animals in Oswego County and the assistance that Paws gives to other shelters and animal welfare organizations in the county.
The two rescue dogs are quite famous and have books written about their lives and how they came to be rescued by Paws.
“Sawyer’s Promise” by Wentworth and Evans and “Charlotte’s Big Dream” by Evans, chronicles the lives and journeys the two dogs have gone through since coming to Paws.
The middle school students at Sandy Creek were studying the petition process in one of their classes when they learned about the plight of Apollo, a dog who was found abandoned and weighed only 29 pounds, less than half of what a lab should weigh.
His owner was brought up on animal cruelty charges and Oswego County residents developed a petition that was signed by thousands asking for the judge in the case to impose the strictest punishment for the crime.
After reading about Apollo, the students at Sandy Creek decided they wanted to do something positive to help other animals and reached out to the Paws organization to see what they could do to help.
They decided to organize a community service project to collect items needed by the organization in their work to assist homeless dogs and cats. The students are collecting food, treats, collars, leashes, cat litter, toys, and other supplies needed by the organization.
The most important need, according to Wentworth, is the need for canned food. Many of the animals they rescue, like Apollo, are malnourished and canned food provides the highest amount of nutrition and is easier for the animals to eat.
Apollo was so malnourished, he required several feedings a day and he was in such a weakened condition, he could not chew dry food. Evans and Wentworth both expressed the need for cat and dog canned food as well as anything else an individual can spare.
“Even if it is one can,” said Wentworth, “every donation is appreciated.”
Some of the donations will be shared with other agencies in the area including Suzette’s Pet Food Pantry which provides food to individuals who don’t have enough money to buy food for their pets, either on a temporary or long-term basis.
The local drive is coordinated by Jodi Whitney, middle school English teacher in the Sandy Creek District.
Together with the Middle School Student Council and the National Junior Honor Society, the students are encouraged to bring in the donated items for the next several weeks. Whitney said the drive would run until a few weeks after the spring break from school.
Her goal, she said is to fill the back of her father’s truck, which she will use to deliver the items to Paws.
Paws Across Oswego County was founded in 2001 and has helped thousands of homeless animals find forever homes.
For more information about Paws, visit www.PawsacrossOswegoCounty.com