Words by Smiley Team
If you visit Richmond Animal Care and Control, the signs posted outside animal kennels might be different to the laminated info sheets you’re used to. Instead, you’ll be greeted by personal notes written in crayon meant to tear at your heartstrings.
Some of the notes have things written like, “If you do adopt me, I hope I will brighten up your Sundays like the sun. You’ll be my Sunday Special, and I hope I’ll be yours!” or “I am cute and short haired. I can cuddle and bark.”
These notes started as an assignment for second-grade students at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. The teacher, Kensey Jones, that came up with the idea is also a volunteer at Richmond Animal Care and Control.
“The idea just came to me to connect persuasive writing with these adoptable pets that need a forever home,” Jones told the Washington Post, adding that it was “a way that I could make their writing real for (the students), and actually make an impact on the world and our Richmond community.”
Jones pitched the idea to the director of the shelter, Christie Peters, whose son is in Jones’s second-grade class, and she was elated.
For the project, Jones combed the shelter website and selected 24 animals, 23 dogs, and one cat for the students to select and write letters for. Along with a brief description of the animals and a picture, the students got to work.
The project as a whole has been deemed a success. Since the beginning of February, when the project began, 21 of the 24 animals in the project have been adopted.
“It definitely brought exposure to the pets that had the greatest need in our shelter and showcased them in a really different and beautiful light,” Peters told the Washington Post.
Richmond Animal Care & Control provides care for more than 3,000 stray, sick, injured, and relinquished pets per year. As an open-admission animal shelter, it takes in every animal in need in the City of Richmond, including animals that are severely injured or behaviorally unsound.
"We believe that every life is worth trying to save, and we are committed to putting the work behind those words," they say.
VOLUNTEER: Look into volunteering or donating to your local animal shelter. Here’s a directory to help you find one.
SUPPORT: If you’re curious about Richmond Animal Care and Control, check out them and their work on the website.