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Local girl raises money for dog adoption fees

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With some determination -- and a lot of 25-cent bubble gum -- Hannah Stricker hopes to make a difference in the lives of shelter dogs.

The 8-year-old, a third-grader at Shoals Elementary School, has so far raised money to cover the adoption fee for one dog and offset half the costs of another at the Kanawha-Charleston Animal Shelter.

She hopes that without an adoption fee, someone will adopt the animals.

It took Hannah four days of selling bubble gum from her front lawn and going door-to-door asking for donations to raise the first $76, enough for a typical adoption fee at the shelter.

"[Hannah] likes to be able to help out as best she can," said Nina Shell, Hannah's mother. "She's really driven."

Hannah got the idea for helping the shelter dogs from her time in the Girl Scouts. Her troop has been involved at the shelter in the past, Shell said.

Hannah was also motivated by a love for dogs. Her family has two of its own. One of them was a stray they found roaming the streets, Hannah said.

For the first dog, Hannah had the choice between sponsoring a puppy and an older dog. Both of them were really cute, she said.

"I knew the smaller one was cuter than the other and that one would be easier to adopt," Hannah said.

So she chose to sponsor Heidi, a 6-year-old shepherd mix whose owner turned her in.

As of Friday, Heidi was still at the shelter waiting for a home.

It's often easier to find homes for puppies, said animal shelter secretary Kim Thorsteinson.

"A lot of people think if they're 6, they're already getting ready to pass away, but some of them live to 12 and 18 years of age," she said.

To encourage people to adopt "senior pets," the shelter's gold star pet program allows people to adopt older dogs at half-off the adoption fee, so Hannah was also able to sponsor half the adoption fee for Alex, a Rottweiler-shepherd mix.

The 3-year-old dog has been at the shelter since January 18 -- the longest of any dog at the shelter now, Thorsteinson said.

Hannah is already working on sponsoring another dog.

She's got about $17 for another sponsorship. She is hoping that someone will choose Heidi as a pet soon.

"We want to make sure Heidi gets a home," Shell said. "We don't want to leave her behind."

Hannah and Nina will be at the Capitol Flea Market next Saturday raising money if people would like to donate.Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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