VERSAILLES – While many voices around the world are sounding the alarm to protect the planet from carbon footprints and greenhouse gases, the importance of caring for living things on planet earth is (or should be) a top priority.
Whether it’s a whale in the Atlantic Ocean, a jaguar in the Amazon rainforest, or even a cat or dog in Darke County, Ohio, everyone should do whatever it takes to protect and care for animals that they find themselves helpless and homeless through no fault of their own.
Three fourth graders from Darke County are leading the way in caring for stray, abandoned, and orphaned cats and kittens by imagining a better place for them and achieving it through community support.
Pets, Paws & Claws, a rescue organization for stray, homeless and abandoned cats, was the brainchild of Evelyn Eshelman and her friends Jenna and Callie. While still in third grade, the girls were inspired by reading a school story about Angel Arellano, a 9-year-old girl from Fresno, California who helped save the Fresno Chaffee Zoo from closing in 2004, and encouraged residents and beyond to get involved. Their efforts helped raise over $ 700,000, which gave hope to the zoo and its four-legged residents. After learning this true story, Evelyn, Callie, and Jenna decided to put their own idea of starting a cat rescue into action.
“We read a story at school about a girl who helped save a zoo that was about to close in her community. She loved animals and raised money to help them, which gave us the idea to start an organization that also helps animals, ”said Evelyn, co-founder of Pets, Paws & Claws. “We weren’t so sure about the idea at first, but we figured if we stick with the idea, we could really do it. We’ve talked about it in all of our niches! “
The girls were also inspired by visiting and caring for shelter animals that needed care, kindness and attention. Together with Evelyn’s mother, Brittney Eshelman, all three girls regularly visited local animal shelters such as Our Farm Sanctuary (Tipp City) and the Darke County Humane Society (Greenville), asked questions and gained practical knowledge about caring for animals that needed a home and especially for themselves Cats interested.
“I’ve always loved cats, and I especially love visiting animal shelters. My mother, sister and I used to play with cats and dogs at the shelter because they need attention and it’s a lot of fun, ”said Evelyn. “Our headmaster had us put up posters at school, and we had a donation box in the school office. Many people donated animal toys, treats, and supplies that we shared with our foster cats. We made flyers that were distributed to the students and discussed the announcements with our classmates. We collected items from our homes and held a flea market last summer to raise money for pet care. “
Some local businesses have allowed the girls to hang posters in their windows and leave donation jars to raise awareness about pets, paws and claws. When Evelyn’s sister Audrey, the organization’s website and media volunteer, posted information about pets, paws and claws, it caught the attention of Karen Herndon, Marketing Programs Manager, Animal Health at Midmark. The company invited Evelyn, Callie, and Jenna to visit and tour the Versailles facility to give them the opportunity to speak to veterinarians. This experience inspired the girls to continue their mission of rescuing and caring for stray, abandoned and homeless cats.
“Midmark was so big and cool inside. Everyone was very nice and made us feel like we love animals, ”said Evelyn. “We learned more about what their company does and how they design things for animals.”
“I really enjoyed when they showed us how they make their products at Midmark,” added Callie. They make their products to be helpful to veterinarians and those who work with animals, but also to make the animals feel good and look good. “
When asked about the most memorable rescue experiences they have had since the start of the organization, shortly after giving birth, the girls mentioned their experiences of taking in a pregnant mother cat and caring for the kittens.
“When we received a pregnant stray cat from Our Farm Sanctuary, we took it to the Bruns Animal Clinic (Versailles) and had it checked out to make sure it was healthy. We then had to bring her home and waited a few weeks for her to have her babies, “Callie said, adding,” We helped save not just one cat but many because of all of their babies. “
When asked how people can get involved in supporting their work at Pet, Paws & Claws, the girls made various suggestions, including food donations, cat litter and, of course, monetary donations for veterinary bills, vaccines and medicines.
“People can support our organization by donating things they have at home that they may not need to help local animal shelters,” Evelyn said. “We use Purina dry kitten food and any wet food. More importantly, they can pass the word on to others about adopting a cat or kitten. We hope to be able to build our own animal shelter one day so we’re saving money on it and using it for current foster animals. “
Would you like to help this great organization? Simply visit Pets, Paws & Claws on the web at: www.petspawsandclaws.godaddysites.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about our Farm Sanctuary in Tipp City, visit www.ourfarmsanctuary.org. For more information about the Darke County Humane Society in Greenville or upcoming dates for the low cost spay / neuter clinics, please visit the society’s Facebook page. To find out more about the Bruns Animal Clinic in Versailles call 937-526-4900 or visit www.brunsanimalclinic.com
Pets Paws & Claws founders Evelyn, Callie and Jenna all smile when they found Midmark Corp. visit in Versailles. Darke County’s fourth graders set up a rescue for unwanted cats and kittens in 2019.
Evelyn, founder of Pets, Paws & Claws, and Callie, friend and co-founder, transport kittens for vaccinations.
Jenna, co-founder of Pets, Paws & Claws, looks after cats at Our Farm Sanctuary in Tipp City (www.ourfarmsanctuary.org).
Pets, Paws & Claws co-founders Evelyn and Callie raised Mara, a foster cat, towards the end of her pregnancy at the Bruns Animal Clinic at 428 North Greenlawn Ave. examined at Versailles.
Evelyn, founder of Pets, Paws & Claws, with sister and website and media volunteer Audrey looking after new kittens at the shelter. For the latest news, visit www.petspawsandclaws.godaddysites.com.
Carol Marsh reports on community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 937-569-4314.