By Cristen Feeney
A pet can brighten up anyone’s life, but adopting a pet from a shelter can be one of the most fulfilling experiences for both owner and pet. Hauppauge High School junior, Carter Thornton, decided to develop a project to help animals at the Smithtown Animal Shelter. His goal is to raise awareness, get volunteers, raise funds and encourage the adoption of pets at the shelter. A big project for a single student to take on, so Thornton recruited some help from his classmates Brittany Furnari and Kylie Antignano. Together they are planning activities and making sure the project goes smoothly. These students will be working at the Smithtown Animal Shelter through the end of the year. Although all their success and good deeds will be the product of their hard work, the nudge to do the project was a result of their participation in the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) program at their high school. One of the requirements of the I.B. program is “Community, Action and Service” , independent from the school, students must get involved in their community. Thornton said he has always loved animals and plans on going into veterinary science; so for him, this project was a “no-brainer.”
On Saturday, June 8, the three students had their first event at the shelter. “For starters, I began to come up with some ideas to attract more people outside of my friends and family with a 50/50 raffle, face painting for the kids and a bake sale. [They could] also come and adopt the animals… After [I thought of some ideas], I reached out to some papers to get the word out…. I also put up flyers around the school and would tell anyone I knew about [the event]. As the actual event took place… about 20 people showed up throughout the day [and] we managed to accumulate $133 dollars in donations” said Thornton. Director of the shelter, George Beatty, thought that the project was a success and is grateful to have passionate students helping out the shelter. According to Beatty, there were even two animals adopted on the day of the event. Thornton is planning to arrange another event toward the end of the summer for those who didn’t get to participate this time around, although the date is still unknown.
If you’d like to get involved with the Smithtown Animal Shelter, they will be at Kings Park Day on June 15th, or at the Stony Brook “Groomery” at 1320 Stony Brook Road on June 22nd with pets that you can adopt. Even if you can’t afford to donate, or can’t adopt at this point, Beatty encourages people to “come on in and walk the dogs. [There is a] nature trail in the back and a sun room…for the cats.” Anything that you are able or willing to do to help is welcomed and encouraged.
The Smithtown Animal Shelter encourages all to get involved, whether it be through adoption, a visit to the pets or a donation of any size. The shelter gives a home to lost, abandoned and stray animals that would otherwise be living on the street, but the shelter needs your help to keep them off the street. Thornton encourages everyone to go to the Shelter and help out saying, “overall, I would hope for a better turn out [at the event] next time, but we still gave the shelter money it didn’t have [before the event] and that’s what really matters to me at the end of the day.” Adopting a pet from a shelter means giving a helpless animal a good home and a family that loves them.
For more information on adopting a pet or making a donation of any size, you can visit HYPERLINK “http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/NY53.html” http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/NY53.html.