More Kids Helping Animals

A Chihuahua in a shelter in Los Angeles.  “Chihuahua” is pronounced “chee-WAH-wah.”

Thirteen-year-old Marisa Milford says she wishes all pets would get good homes – including animals that wind up in shelters.

“They have five days to get adopted,” she said in an interview with Panama City, Florida, TV station WJHG. “And then (if they’re not adopted) they are euthanized.”

(“Euthanized” means put to sleep – permanently.)

So Marisa decided to give people an alternative to the local shelter in her hometown of Youngstown, Florida.

She created White Oak Rescue – an organization that takes in animals who’ve been abandoned by their owners until suitable new owners can be found.

(“Suitable” means “proper” or “good.”)

She admits that part of her feels sad when an animal gets adopted out.

“But for every dog that gets adopted, there are thousands waiting to take its place,” she told WJHG reporter Morgan Kyrklund.

Across the country this summer, kids are spending their time – and in some cases, their money – taking care of animals that need help.

Nine-year-old Carly Williams says she’s not allowed to have a cat of her own.

So this year, according to Knoxville, Tennessee, TV station WATE, she donated her birthday money to her local animal shelter — $510!

That money reportedly covered the adoption fee for more than a dozen cats rescued by the Loudon County Friends of Animals.

That means the adoptees didn’t have to fork over as much of their own money to take a cat home.

“I want other people to have cats that they can enjoy and love,” Carly told WATE reporter Laura Halm. “Those cats, they just looked up at me and said, ‘Thank you! Yay! Thank you!’”

And in New York City, 13-year-old Marshall Nisselbaum decided to raise money for local animal-welfare organizations for his “Mitzvah Project.”

That’s a community service project that a lot of Jewish kids are required to do along with their bar or bat mitzvahs.

(The religious ceremony is called a bar mitzvah for a boy and a bat mitzvah for a girl. Incidentally, “bat” rhymes with “dot.”)

According to New York City TV station WNYW, Marshall collected more than $2,000 in donations – including some of his own bar mitzvah money.

“I’ve always wanted to help with animals and underprivileged animals,” he told WNYW reporter Stacey Delikat. “It feels good.”

Back in Florida, Marisa says she’s accepting donations for her rescue as well.

“We need like training things,” she told WJHG. “Outlets for (the animals’) energy and agility things, toys, beds and treats.”

Marisa, Marshall and Carly – and lots of other kids — are proving once again that you don’t have to be a grownup to make a difference.

“I may not be changing the world,” Marisa told the News Herald, her hometown newspaper. “But I’m changing my world — and the world for animals – one animal at a time.”