First-grade service project a doggone success
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – Dogs in the Lake Norman area recently upped their fashion sense while their owners helped improve the lives of abandoned and unwanted Golden Retrievers, thanks to a group of local first-graders.
Students in Tracy Hoskins’ first-grade classroom at Woodlawn School, located about one mile from Davidson College, collected $415.95 for the Golden Retriever Rescue Club of Charlotte last month by selling doggie bandanas. Last week, the class deposited the money in the school’s Wells Fargo bank account and plans to present a check to the club at its annual Have a Heart event on Feb. 4.
“I have a dog at home who is the oldest dog on our street and is blind and deaf, so I think it’s important to help dogs like that who don’t have someone to take care of them,” said first-grader Nadia Ristich, whose almost 17-year-old Dachshund, George, inspired her to sell the bandanas.
The project began when Gary Rhinesmith, a school volunteer and Golden Retriever Rescue Club member affectionately known to the first-graders as “Grandpa Gary,” saw the bandanas for sale at a Golden Retriever Rescue Club event and thought maybe Hoskins’ class could help raise a little money.
Because the Woodlawn School first-grade service curriculum includes lessons on pet care and helping animals, Hoskins agreed to have her students take on the task of selling the bandanas before Christmas break.
Clancy, a Golden Retriever belonging to Rhinesmith’s daughter, sometimes makes classroom visits, so students knew they were working to help other dogs who look like Clancy that have been put in unfortunate circumstances, Rhinesmith said.
“(My daughter) brought her Golden Retriever Clancy here because she is a therapy dog,” Rhinesmith said. “The kids love Clancy.”
The Golden Retriever Rescue Club is a volunteer-based nonprofit group that works to rescue endangered Golden Retrievers and places them with foster families until a permanent adoptive family can be found. Many of the rescued dogs come from local animal shelters, where they are in danger of becoming euthanized if they’re not adopted after a certain time.
At first, the class set their goal at $100, but as more and more students, parents, teachers and community members quickly began purchasing bandanas for their dogs and donating to the cause, the students kept increasing their goal before ending the fundraiser with more than $400, an impressive feat for the small group of 12 first-graders. During the fundraiser, a cancer stricken dog belonging to a Woodlawn School teacher even modeled the bandanas for students.
“The number of people buying the bandanas and the donations just kept multiplying and multiplying,” teaching assistant Catherine Packard said. “The kids were very enthusiastic.”
For more information about the Golden Retriever Rescue Club or to complete an online adoption form, go online to www.grrcc.com.