Powell Butte School children learn about local animal shelter

Kindergarten children at Powell Butte Elementary school were treated to a visit with Kimily the Chocolate Labrador Retriever yesterday, courtesy of the Humane Society of the Ochocos.
   It's a sort of cross educational effort on the parts of shelter staff and teacher Anita Dewey, and it's a great way to bring awareness to the shelter's needs at the same time.
   Shelter manager Talena Smith offered animal care tips to students, and introduced them to the services provided by the shelter at the same time.
   Smith indicated that the shelter is running at capacity, as they are seeing a sharp increase in the number of adult dogs being abandoned by owners. Pointing out that pet owners may be feeling an added burden due to the economy, Smith said that pets are sometimes the first to suffer when families are forced to tighten their belts.
   "Another thing that we are having a problem with, and the police officers have mentioned it also, is that people are abandoning their pets when they move or are evicted from their homes instead of bringing them to the shelter," she explained. "I think a lot of that has to do with the time of year, and the economy right now. Whatever the reason we are seeing an increased number of stray dogs. People need to be sure that their dogs have identification tags or a phone number on the collar so that we can get lost pets back to their homes."
   Representing one of several local efforts to collect needed supplies for the shelter, Dewey explained that students will be bringing in pet food and pet supplies over the next several weeks and depositing them in a big box provided by the shelter at the school. "This will be a Christmas present for the shelter from our students," she said.
   Additional efforts on behalf of local supporters include a pet food drive being conducted by the middle school 7th graders with collection sites at several retail outlets in Prineville.
   Dry pet food, cat litter and other donations of pet supplies can be dropped off at collection boxes located at Thriftway, Rite Aid and Sentry Market through Saturday.
   Powell Butte's Country Store also has a collection box set up for donations located at their store.
   Gregory's Floor Covering, 225 NE 3rd St. in Prineville is the site for the shelter's Christmas Wish Tree decorated with ornaments from which folks are invited to make a selection. Each ornament has a suggested item which the shelter is in particular need of. Gifts can be returned to the store anytime prior to Christmas.
   The annual pet photo fundraiser is also on tap for this month. Scheduled for the 15th of December pet owners will have a chance to get their pet's picture taken with Santa at Rite Aid in Prineville from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. on that day.
   For more information about the shelter, to schedule an educational appearance, or to make a donation call 447-7178 or drop by the shelter at 1280 S. Tom McCall Road.