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Fowler students lend a paw to local dog rescue


Donations and supplies go to animal shelter

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon Dog Rescue volunteers Sue Bailey (left) and Nancy Truax have been working with Fowler Middle School students to raise money for the no-kill dog shelter Oregon Dog Rescue in Tualatin.Fowler Middle School eighth-grader Nakaya Erickson is a seasoned professional by the time she steps into Mr. Walker’s homeroom classroom.

It’s a speech she has given dozens of times before, asking her fellow middle schoolers to help the unfortunate in her community.

“Just drop off whatever you can or ask your parents to put items on the shopping list,” she tells a classroom of students.

During the holiday season, many are going out of their way to help the hungry or the homeless, but Nakaya and her classmates have their sights set on a group often overlooked during the holidays: the area’s homeless dogs.

The 24 students in Renee Hathorn’s homeroom class have spent the last few months raising money for their four-legged friends at Oregon Dog Rescue, a Tualatin-based no-kill shelter that opened its doors earlier this year, after years operating out of nearby PetSmart.

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Students in Renee Hathorn's eighth-grade homeroom class pack boxes of supplies for Oregon Dog Rescue. The class is spending the entire school year raising money for the shelter.In Hathorn’s room, posters of dogs up for adoption line the walls. Students have brought dogs from Oregon Dog Rescue to classrooms across the school, each one available for adoption.

So far, the school has raised more than $120 for the organization, in addition to donating a few hundred dollars worth of supplies, including cleaning supplies, leashes and other necessary items.

“We’re trying to raise as much as we can get,” said student Ashley Carter-Sadek, gesturing to a poster on her classroom wall, which charts the donations the students have so far collected.

Students aren’t sure how much money they will be able to give Oregon Dog Rescue by the time the school year ends, but they’ll do what they can.

One student chimes in from across the room, “I want to raise $1 million.”

No matter how much money is raised, Oregon Dog Rescue volunteer Nancy Truax said the effort will make an impact.

“We don’t get any funding,” said Truax, who is working with the eighth-graders on the project and appreciates the rescue’s young champions.

“I love coming here, the kids get so excited,” Truax said. “And, I love to see eighth-graders do something outside of themselves.”

Truax, who grew up in New Jersey, said she participated in community service activities in middle school. The students’ desire to help out struck a chord.

“It really resonated with me,” she said. “The class has been great, and no one is more dedicated than Renee (Hathorn).”

This week, in addition to cash donations from the school, the students in Hathorn’s class began selling bracelets and raffle tickets for plush toys as a way to raise money.

Tubman, a life-sized plush Bernese mountain dog is the grand prize, which will be raffled off at the end of the year.

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Eighth-grader Nakaya Erickson plays with Oregon Dog Rescues J.R. and Asher in Renee Hathorn's homeroom class at Fowler Middle School. Hathorn's class is organizing donations to the nonprofit organization that places dogs in homes for long-term adoption.The shelter brings in dogs from across the area, including high-kill shelters in California.

Under state law, California shelters hold dogs for up to three days before they are eligible to be euthanized.

Back in Tualatin, Oregon Dog Rescue does what it can to save California dogs, receiving about 20 or 30 dogs from the Golden State every six or eight weeks.

J.R., a rambunctious dachshund mix who made the rounds at Fowler visiting several classrooms, is one such pup, arriving from California several weeks ago.

“They try to get as many dogs out of California as they can, because they have a three-day hold,” Truax said.

This is the first year Hathorn’s class has done a service project like this one.

“I had a really good homeroom this year, and I figured they could do it,” Hathorn said. “They are helping get those dogs out of jail.”

Hathorn said helping with Oregon Dog Rescue was a great way for her students to get involved in the community.

“It levels the playing field for students,” she said. “They can do work for homeless shelters, but some of these kids are in shelters themselves and that can be embarrassing and make them turn away. And, if you start talking about diseases, that scares them. But dogs? They are all about it.”

For more information or to donate, visit oregondogrescue.org.

Oregon Dog Rescue is located at 6700 S.W. Nyberg St. in Tualatin.