Every summer since I was a baby, my mom and I have fostered kittens. My mom works at an emergency animal hospital, where she has been the grief counselor for many years, and naturally, as an animal lover, it is next to impossible to resist the stray kittens.
The youngest kitten we’ve ever fostered was not even 24 hours old. He had two siblings who died (Precious Jewel was nearly a month old when we found her not breathing in her carrier. It was devastating, since I was only nine years old.), but a brother, Tucker, now lives with my uncle in the country. He was perhaps the craziest kitten we ever encountered.
This is the perfect example of the happy and hard times of fostering kittens. I love the many lives my mom and I have saved over the years, though we have had more than one kitten die. And, of course, we have to say good-bye when we find each the perfect home. I cry every time but I know I should be smiling because we have not only saved a feline’s life, but also made a human’s.
For my eighth-grade service project, I decided to help out the animal hospital a bit more. Well, a little turned into a lot, and a lot turned into a ton. I distributed donation boxes for the hospital’s Stray Animal Program to several businesses and created a flyer for managers to put next to them. The donation boxes remained in the businesses for a month and some I emptied several times. I was pleased with the amount of money that had been donated.
It wasn’t easy, though. The first week the donation boxes were out, one was stolen from a hair salon. The window was broken and the box full of money was taken one night (nothing else was stolen). The owner said it contained over $20. I was really upset to hear about the robbery.
Disgustingly enough, this was not the only theft. At a pizza shop, another donation box crammed with cash was taken. The manager had called to ask me to empty it but instead of leaving it in the back office, it sat on the counter. It was a very busy day and some sneaky person was able to get away with the box.
This is where it got intense. We never caught either thief, but we did get lots of press! The development director at the animal hospital used to be a TV news anchor and sent out a press release. The very next day, I was interviewed by four TV stations in front of the pizza store. It was put up on the hospital’s web page, and the pizza store held a fund raiser to bring attention to the situation and 20 percent of their profits were donated to the hospital, totaling $200. Also, they added what they thought was in the stolen donation box, another $50. In all, a little over a thousand dollars was donated after my TV appearances and radio interview.
It sickens me that someone would steal from a nonprofit organization, an eighth-grader’s service project, and most of all, homeless animals.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.