By: Allison B.

Allison B. poses with her adopted dog Sunny.
When you drive around your town and spot an unloved, helpless dog wandering, or a cute, stray kitten scrounging for food, you sometimes wonder “Why doesn’t anyone help this animal? What in the world can I do to help?” Well, there IS a way you can help. Organizations like the Georgia SPCA and Clover Run Rescue place these beautiful animals in loving homes. I as a Girl Scout have witnessed this and helped in the most wonderful way you can, volunteering at adoptions and making donations. It seems like a small gesture, but it really makes a difference.
I walked into the shelter, and right as I stepped in, I saw twelve, pleading eyes staring at me with the most longing faces, as if saying “Please…take me home with you!!!” But all this is changed every day, because their wish comes true at the Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA). The GSPCA is a non-profit organization that helps rescue the many unwanted dogs and cats around Georgia. Its doors were opened in July of 2007, and has been helping animals ever since. Since almost 250,000 of these animals are killed each year in Georgia at Animal Controls, GSPCA helps lower that number and find these animals a good home. Most of GSPCA’s animals come from the Animal Controls located throughout Georgia or from animals found by Georgia citizens, and they help to rescue up to 1,100 dogs and cats a year. The GSPCA is an amazing organization that helps to educate the public on helping to rescue the many dogs and cats that might get killed in Georgia. Jane Stewart, the Executive Director of GSPCA, says that the main reason she works here is to help cut down on the killings made every year by Animal Control, and to get her daughter involved in helping save these wonderful creatures as well, so that she then can pass along the amazing job of saving ours worlds animals.

Even though they have many wonderful adult volunteers, they are always in need of help from us. So, what can Girl Scouts do to help? You can do a lot. The biggest thing you can do is to volunteer around the shelter or at the off-site adoptions. In order to volunteer at GSPCA, you need to take a volunteer orientation, which is held once a month on Sundays. You also have to be at least 14 years old to volunteer without an adult. Volunteers here help clean the shelter, feed the animals, help at the adoptions, and help the staff. Visit their website ( for more information.
Because GSPCA is a non-profit organization, the only money it gets is from adoptions and donations. What Girl Scouts can do is have drives for things like towels, bleach, pet items, et cetera that your troop can give to the GSPCA. Be sure that you and your troop leader check the fundraising guidelines in the Volunteer Essentials Guidebook before doing any fundrasing. Another important way to help is to donate items to their thrift shop “Sadie’s Place”. You can hold a drive for people to drop off items they don’t want, and then give them to the thrift shop. At the GSPCA, little things help a lot!

Junior Troop 1090 brings donations to GSPCA and gets ready for a tour.
On a nice Saturday or Sunday morning, walking into the Johns-Creek Pet-Supermarket, the scene is different than the average day. Instead of the regular hustle and bustle of people buying pet supplies, it’s the sounds of playful pups, trying to make good impressions on the surrounding shoppers. This is where Clover Run Rescue, also a non-profit organization and no-kill shelter, takes it’s hopeful dogs for adoptions. Clover Run Rescue, opened in 2009,  is located in Jefferson, Georgia where it rescues most of its dogs from other local shelters and many Animal Controls just before they are euthanized. They keep all of the animals at their shelter, with full vet care, until they are adopted by a loving family. The only way Clover Run Rescue earns its needed money is from adoptions and donations, since it is a non-profit organization. The only people at the shelter are the founders and managers of the facility, Cathy and Tom Motter, and the many helpful volunteers who come out to work there with the animals. Cathy and Tom have been asked many times why they started Clover Run Rescue. Their answer is clear and simple. They want to rescue the animals that people at first don’t care about, and then give them new homes. They say that seeing the pictures of the adorable dogs with their new owners after adoption really makes them want to keep doing what they do.
Clover Run Rescue has many helping hands around the shelter and at adoptions, but it’s never enough. One of the best ways to help this organization as a Girl Scout is to volunteer at the shelter and adoptions. At the shelter, you can help the other volunteers clean, feed, and work with the animals. At adoptions, you can walk, feed, and socialize with the dogs, and tell the shoppers about them. In order to volunteer, you have to fill out a form and know how to work well with dogs. When you show up for your first volunteer shift, the people there show you the ropes. Your troop can also do drives for the things they need most, like crates, towels, blankets, treats, and paper towels. These sorts of things really help a lot, and when there are dogs and people involved, these small things make a huge difference here as well!

Cadette Girl Scouts and a Brownie Girl Scout walk the pups at adoptions with the Clover Run Rescue.

     When Girl Scouts like you begin to help the community, you allow other people to realize how important it is to help in small ways. You might not realize it, but a gesture like getting your dog or cat spayed or neutered helps the community more than you could ever know. 
Therefore, helping at adoptions is one of the biggest services you can offer for your community, just as I’ve learned. Working with these amazing creatures is the most wonderful choice I’ve ever made, and when I see that adorable ball of fluff being carried out the door by a child to its new and happy home, I know I’ve changed two lives today!!! And I practice this habit of loving animals every day as I give my adopted dog, Sunny, a pat and a kiss as I head out the door.

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