By Martie Thompson
editor@floridanewsline.com

Patriot Oaks Academy third grader Elizabeth Palmer has always loved animals. Her family currently has four pets: Bailey the dog, Bear the hamster, Camostri the bearded dragon, and Frisco the rabbit. Elizabeth said one day, she and her friends Alia and Everly were discussing taking care of pets and the fact that not all animals are as lucky as some others.

“We thought it was very sad that some dogs and cats are homeless,” Elizabeth said. “Our teacher, [Kylee Stafford] mentioned that maybe we could start a club and do something about it.”

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So Elizabeth, Alia, and Everly started Animal Safety Girls, or ASG for short. They even collaboratively created a logo — but most importantly, they held a donation drive for animals at the Jacksonville Humane Society. Elizabeth said they chose this shelter because they thought it “might need some extra help since it is so large.”

Their teacher reached out to the Jacksonville Humane Society for its requested items. The girls made flyers listing the requested donations to put up around their school and were able to make an announcement on the school’s morning news show. They put up buckets at the front of Patriot Oaks Academy for the month of February. 

They were delighted to receive two carloads full of donations from students and staff that they dropped off at the Jacksonville Humane Society on March 23. On that day, the three girls also completed the humane society’s brief training for its Pawsitive Reading program, which is designed to not only calm the animals, but provide encouragement for young readers.

“We read two books,” Elizabeth said. “We read an alphabet dog book and also a book of poems that we made at our school. We were able to spend about 20 – 30 minutes with the dogs.”

The Animal Safety Girls plan to sponsor these pet drives a couple of times a year, according to Elizabeth, who said she hopes to start her own animal rescue shelter, open to all animals, someday.

“I felt really good inside after dropping off the donations,” Elizabeth said. “I felt we were making a difference to those dogs and cats and I know Alia and Everly felt the same way. We also enjoyed seeing the shelter and all the animals.”

Photo courtesy Nancy Palmer
Elizabeth Palmer with Alia and Everly at the Jacksonville Humane Society.

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