The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Stray-dog story puts K.G. students in mood to give
BY LINDLEY ESTES
It didn’t take visions of sugarplums and presents under the tree to get some King George third-graders into the giving mood this season.
It simply took a book they read in class.
The pupils read the novel “A Dog’s Life, the Autobiography of a Stray” by Ann Martin.
The story follows a dog, Squirrel, as she is separated from her mother and brother, lives as a stray and eventually find a home. Squirrel’s life as a stray is marked by loneliness and fear of other, meaner, dogs.
Squirrel’s story inspired the students to hold a drive for donations to help other stray animals.
They raised about $500 worth of pet supplies, including food, beds, blankets, toys, treats and kitty litter.
Their teacher, Kathy Malpass, said she was pleased to see the students take action and take the book’s message to heart.
“It’s something a lot of children wouldn’t even think of,” she said.
“I hope the dogs will be warm and happy through the winter,” said Connor Smith, an 8-year-old class member. “They have a better chance of being adopted if they are happy and jumping around.”
His twin brother, Duncan, is also in the class and said all three of their family’s dogs are from shelters.
“It feels good to give them a home,” he said.
The class worked writing projects into the drive, such as writing persuasive letters. Each of the 13 classmates wrote a letter, which their teacher compiled into a note to send to all of the parents asking for donations.
The final letter said, “While reading about the hardships this dog endured before she finally finds a forever home, we wanted to do something to help other homeless cats and dogs, so we came up with the idea to make donations to the King George Animal Shelter. These animals do not have a family with a nice warm bed and someone to love them, and we would really like to do what we can to make their lives better.”
Haley Smith, 9, said her family’s dog is also from a shelter and she has volunteered at the local pound.
“When I went with my mom to get a dog it was kind of sad,” she said.
Steven Rydhal, 8, said he also owns a shelter dog.
“I feel really happy that we’re getting donations,” he said. “The dogs and the cats at the shelter need them. They’ll be really happy to get the blankets.”
Malpass called the effort by the children “exceptional.”
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976