By Christie Lagally, Richmond News, December 22, 2010
Three teachers and 19 MacNeill Secondary students have come up with a brilliant idea.
While some students might prefer to play football or be a member of the chess club in high school, these forward thinking secondary students are members of the MacNeill Secondary Animal Rescue Club!
The Animal Rescue Club started in September and, led by teacher Wayne Hirayama, the student club members learn about animal rescue by visiting local shelters and fundraising for animal causes. The club holds fundraisers by selling cupcakes, pizza or hot dogs at MacNeill during the lunch hour.
Since the club’s inception, the students have visited the BC SPCA Education and Adoption Centre, the Richmond Animal Shelter and the RAPS Cat Sanctuary which houses more than 900 cats and is the largest of its kind in North America.
Hirayama says the students visit the rescue groups to learn about the incredible volunteer time and staff effort it takes to rescue, house, feed and care for so many homeless animals in our community. The mission of the Animal Rescue Club is to support those rescue efforts, and that’s exactly what the students are doing.
So far, this year the students have held 10 fundraisers (about one to two per week), but during their visit to the RAPS Cat Sanctuary, the group found out about a very special cat in need and decided to dedicate their fundraising efforts to help him.
Hirayama says the club’s motto is that even making a difference for one animal is a big difference.
Well, that’s good news for Mr. Bojangles, a three-year resident cat at the RAPS Cat Sanctuary.
This tabby and white feline often gets the attention of visitors to the sanctuary because he’s so friendly, but he also has strangely loud breathing. Unfortunately, in the last few months Mr. Bojangles’ breathing abnormalities turned into breathing problems, and he now needs some extra care from a veterinary specialist.
The Animal Rescue Club decided this would be their next fundraising effort, and they are holding their weekly fundraiser and taking donations from the public to cover the costs of diagnostics to determine, and eventually treat, Mr. Bojangles breathing problem.
It was clear to me when I spoke to Mr. Hirayama, that the members of the MacNeill Animal Rescue Club are dedicated to helping Mr. Bojangles and the cause of animal rescue in general, but Hirayama says the students are also learning the personal joy of giving back to the community and supporting the diligent efforts that go into animal rescue and care in Richmond.
Members of the Animal Rescue Club will be fundraising for Mr. Bojangles for the next few months and invites the public to help out.
If you would like to make a donation to help the Animal Rescue Club meet their goal, donations can be made at MacNeill secondary school office (6611 No. 4 Rd). or at the Richmond Animal Shelter (12071 No. 5 Rd.).
Christie Lagally is a volunteer pet columnist. View her blog at christielagally.wordpress.com.