Reynolds student takes on plight of household pets

Marissa Hagglund, a Girl Scout Ambassador and Reynolds High School junior, is planning a community project to earn her highest honor in Girl Scouting — the Gold Award.

Started in 1916, the Girl Scout Gold Award — once called the Golden Eaglet, the Curved Bar and First Class Award — challenges high school girls to change the world by solving a community problem.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Marissa Hagglund,17, encourages people to adopt pets from overburdened shelters rather than buy from pet shops.Hagglund, 17, said it is a personal goal of hers to shoot as high as possible, and in earning the Gold Award she will have proved to herself that she is able “to accomplish any project I put my mind to and complete any task put forth me,” she said.

In pursuit of the honor, the astute and philanthropic Hagglund has chosen to focus on the plight of household animals.

“It is my desire that people learn the value of rescuing animals from shelters rather than going to the pet store and buying an expensive pet from the window,” said Hagglund, who has been a Girl Scout for 12 years, starting as a Daisy when she was in kindergarten.

“I am a pet person,” she said.

A pet owner herself with cats, a dog and some fish at her home in the Wilkes neighborhood of Northeast Portland, Hagglund said she wants to affect the pet community and the people community in a positive way.

She said a lot of pets are neglected and abandoned, and as result, shelters are overflowing with pets.

“It is possible to take care of these pets,” she said. She hopes to encourage people to rescue animals through adoption to reduce the number of shelter pets that need a good home and loving family.

To accomplish her goal, Hagglund is working with the community to put on an event (for the first time) that will raise awareness on the topic.

She plans to have multiple animal organizations, such as the Oregon Humane Society and Animal Aid, come together and share information with the public, including information about where pet owners can get services and where people can adopt a pet. There also will be a pet food drive.

While still in the planning stages, Hagglund will hold her event Saturday, June 29, from approximately 1-4 p.m. at the East Portland Community Center in Portland. Admission is free.

“This is not a community service project,” Hagglund said. “It’s about leadership and going above and beyond. It is designed to benefit both the community and the Girl Scout who puts it together.”

One of the main objectives in earning the Girl Scout Gold Award is to make a lasting impression on the community, Hagglund said.

For more information, email Hagglund at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-729-6807.

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