How did you get started with the Humane Society? Why do you do it?
I love animals. I have two cats that were adopted from the Humane Society. When I adopted the cats, I asked how I could help out at the shelter. They told me that you had to be 15 years old to volunteer, and I was only 12. I am not a patient person, so I began checking to see how I could get involved. I found out the Humane Society has an internship program you can start when you are 12. In order to be qualified for the internship, you first have to volunteer for the Hand-in-Paw Club (the Humane Society's club for kids and young adults) for two months, so I did that first. You had to be an active member, too, which means you had to go to all the meetings.
What do you do at the Humane Society?
I volunteer at the shelter like any other volunteer would, cleaning kennels and things like that. I also get to help at different events they hold. When you called yesterday, I was at a summer day camp they hold. You pretty much get to be like staff there, staff in training.
So your favorite animals are cats. What about the other animals?
It's true; I love cats. I love them, because they are cuddly and also because they are independent and don't always need to be given attention. I like dogs, too, however, for the opposite reason. They're ambitious and have lots of energy to keep going. I also work with other animals at the shelter. We get all kinds in there. I've seen pigs, parrots and various special species come in--we usually send the specialty animals to specialists better qualified to handle them. I also got to take care of a goat once.
What's the scoop with the goat?
Someone heard it crying in a car; it was in the parking lot of one of the local hospitals, I think. When a baby goat cries, it sounds a lot like a baby human. So they called the police, who then broke into the car. As it turned out, it wasn't a baby; it was a goat. So it came to us.
What is the worst thing you have seen while volunteering at the shelter?
I haven't been exposed to a lot of that. I accidentally saw pictures once on the Humane Society's national Web site page. But I clicked out of it really quick. I did hear some cockfighting roosters came to the shelter once. ... They were too mean; they couldn't calm them down. Also, greyhound racing is pretty bad. I have never gone to a track, but I did research on it for a paper I had to write, and it was pretty interesting.
I was writing a persuasive essay for a literature class and learned that they are fed 4D meat, which is not fit for human consumption. It has charcoal in it, and (the greyhounds) are fed it raw. All dog food has some 4D meat, but racing greyhounds are fed 4D meat exclusively. I also learned that thousands of dogs born that don't show the potential to make money are killed as puppies. I found lots of information on the Greyhound Protection League's Web site (greyhounds.org). ... I really dislike how greyhounds are treated.
So, what are you going to do with your life?
Well, I don't like blood, so I am definitely not going to be a veterinarian. However, I would like to be a lobbyist or a lawyer for an animal-rights organization. ... I might go into government when I'm older. Perhaps I'll become a senator or representative. I wanted to be the president when I was younger, but now I want to do something with animals, so I probably won't try for that.
Sounds like you like politics ...
Yeah, I do. I was the president of the student council in eighth grade and have been on the student council for the last 4 1/2 years. I couldn't run for president until eighth grade, so before that, I was a representative. As a member of the student council, I helped organize different events, like charity drives, school socials and spirit weeks.
Any last thing you want to say?
Yeah, even if you are a kid, you can volunteer in many ways. You don't have to wait until you're older. No matter how busy your schedule is, you can always find time to help.