P.A.W.S. Project (by Molly age 13)

My name is Molly and I am 13 years.

I adopted my first dog Riley when I was 9.   She was a rescue from Tenneesee.  I was so grateful for Riley that my family and I started to volunteer for an animal shelter once a week called Cape Ann Animal Aid.   About two years into volunteering we were there one day and as we were leaving they asked us to take out one more dog.  She had been barking so much in the kennel and she was so unhappy.  We took her outside and she became the happiest dog ever.  She ran and played and sat right next to our feet.   That was Gracie.  We loved her so much we took her home that day and she is an amazing dog.   We learned about her story that she had been abandoned by her owner in Georgia when she was pregnant.  She eneded up in the county shelter where she gave birth to 10 puppies.  She had heartworm, pneumonia and had been hit by a car – but she still took care of her puppies and nursed them back to health so they could come to Massachusetts and find families.

I decided I needed to do more to help dogs that were abandoned and needed rescuing.  At 12 years old I started the P.A.W.S. Project which stands for Precious Animals Wonderful Shelters.  My goal was to volunteer and help as many groups as I could for one year.   I wanted to raise $2500 to give to the shelters, and to collect items they might need like leashes, collars, toys and other things.  I raised the $2500 in the first six weeks with the help of Go Fund Me.

Over the year my project grew.  I ended up volunteering for 14 different shelter and rescue groups.   I had tables at events where I sold things I made like handmade dog toys, homemade dog treats and things with my logo like keychains, dog waterbowls and t-shirts.   I had tables at 45 different events.  I volunteered over 400 hours.  And I made two trips to Georgia to help the group that rescued Gracie – EARLS Hope Rescue.   I even got to go to the county shelter and see the exact spot she gave birth to her puppies.   During my trips to Georgia I worked with EARLS Hope to pull dogs from high kill shelters and be rescued.  My project sponsored their rescue.  I helped sponsor 110 dogs in the first year of my project.  When my project officially ended after the one year I had raised $38,000!  And I had written letters to about 100 companies to get donations of items and received over $40,000 worth of things my shelters needed.  One amazing company sent me over $10,000 worth of dog leashes and collars!

When the year was over I couldn’t stop helping dogs.   So I started a foundation with my mom Mindy to keep the work going.  I have a website at www.pawsprojectfoundation.org  where you can see everything I have done, some pictures and videos of dogs I rescued and more about why I want to help.

I am now about to take my third trip to Georgia where my project is raising money to save 50 more dogs.   I have been working with groups in Georgia using Facebook to select the dogs to save.   I will go there and volunteer for a week and then get on the transport with the drivers and take the 18 hour ride to New England with the dogs I am sponsoring.   I have almost raised the additional $10,000 I need for this trip already.

I think my new goal would be to have my project save 250 dogs.  That seems like an amazing thing if I could do that.   At the end of my trip I will have saved 160 dogs.   And I want to keep working hard to save more.  It costs about $200 to save a dog – which includes all of their shots and vaccines, medications, vet visits, food and transport north.   So to save another 90 dogs would mean I would need to collect another $18,000.  I always think if everyone reading a story like this gave just $1 or $5 how many dogs could be rescued.  Because rescuing a dog doesn’t only change the life of that dog – it changes forever the life of the family that adopts it.   Just like Riley and Gracie changed mine.

Original Story:
Each year in the United States 7.6 million animals end up in shelters.  3.9 million of those are dogs.

My name is Molly and I am a 12 year old lover of dogs starting an intensive project to help shelters and shelter dogs.  

My P.A.W.S. Project (Precious Animals, Wonderful Shelters) has a goal of helping 13 shelters in New England and helping 180 dogs socialize, learn manners and get adopted to wonderful forever homes.  I will be working with these shelters as a volunteer, and also posting their adoptable animals on my facebook page to get the word out.  I will be doing dog treat bake sales, and I have also designed an incredible keychain that represents a love of dogs.  All proceeds from this keychain (and other efforts) will be divided up between the shelters I am helping.  This is a year long project ending on my 13th birthday in December 2017.

You can follow my project at www.facebook.com/PAWSmitzvah

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Mindy Wogan 
Middleton, MA
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