Never too young to make a difference

TRACY JESSIMAN @SaltWireNetwork Tracy Jessiman is a pet portrait artist who lives in Halifax with her husband and their three pets. She has been rescuing animals most of her life, but more intimately, animals rescued her.



SaltWire Network


Two young girls in Bedford dearly wanted to help homeless pets at the SPCA Dartmouth shelter. Claire Ford, 10, and Violet Palmer, 10, decided to hold a bake sale at Sunnyside Elementary school. They spent an entire weekend organizing, baking and preparing for the event. They sacrificed time with their families and pets to ensure they were ready. The event was a complete success and they happily delivered a cheque for $665.35 to the shelter. The SPCA was busy that Sunday and the girls received applause and congratulations from people and staff in the reception area. The staff also invited the girls into the cat room, where they both fell in love with a guinea pig. The girls pet every cat and bunny, ensuring all the animals get the same attention and affection. As soon as Claire and Violet learned volunteers could walk dogs for the shelter, they eagerly asked if they could take one out. But they were not old enough and they understood. They may show up at the shelter in a couple of years to become dog walkers. At such a young age, kids who care about the plight of homeless animals will most likely carry that concern for the rest of their lives. Both Claire and Violet have homes with multiple pets, yet they wanted to help unburden some of the financial stress for the local SPCA. Kids and pets go together just like chocolate and peanut butter. A pet can change a child’s life and has been linked to cognitive development, higher self-esteem and positive social skills. Pets can teach empathy, love, responsibility and even help a shy child. Pets provide great comfort to kids, whether that pet is a cat, dog, fish, bird, gerbil or rabbit or something else. They enrich a child’s life. Kids may confide in their pets just like they would in a stuffed animal. Pets do not pass judgment; they only offer unconditional love. There isn’t anything cuter than seeing a child have a lemonade stand with their faithful dog at their side. They may have a picnic or tea party with their cats. Claire and Violet also started a dog walking and cat sitting business about a year ago. It’s a reigning success in their neighbourhood. The girls have quite a few years ahead of them. I am confident their love of animals will be with them on their journey. Please be kind to animals.