"Ever since I was little, my family -- and they still do -- take in and foster pets that have been dropped off and most of them had to be rehabilitated because they're either injured or starving," she said. "The Humane Society in North Carolina helped us a lot and helped us find homes for these animals.
"It's amazing to be on the receiving end of the animals because when you feel the animals' little love and affection, they'll give you back a lifetime of love and loyalty. I believe in the Humane Society and all that they stand for ... and I created the Strut Your Pup fundraiser for the love of the animals."
With the contest being held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., people can register their dogs and compete in Strut Your Pup at any point during the four-hour period. To enter, there is a $5 cost for each of the six categories: longest ears, best costume, best trick, biggest dog, smallest dog and pet/owner look alike. The first and second place winners in each category will be awarded prizes that have been donated from area businesses and the third place entrants will receive certificates.
"She's gone to area businesses and eight businesses so far have contributed as donors. And they've donated prizes, everything from dog food to kennels to free meals for all of her first place winners [in] the categories. ... I think what struck me the most was her dedication," said Joann Drexler about her daughter's commitment to assisting animals in need. "When she walked into area businesses and spoke with the owners and managers, she was so grown up.
"She walked in and she had her folder with her letters explaining what she was doing and who she was doing it for and why she was doing it. ... She got the most awesome welcome. I would sit back in the corner and watch to see how the managers reacted to a teenager coming in and they were just so supportive. It was just wonderful."
Opened in 2006, EVHS' 4,928-square-foot shelter at 36 Ladd's Mountain Road in Cartersville costs about $240,000 per year to manage. The shelter consists of two staff offices, a quarantine room, two visitation rooms, 14 temperature-controlled kennel runs, a cat room with 24 cages and a puppy room with 22 cages.
Since the EVHS is funded solely by private donations, fundraisers and adoption fees, benefits like Strut Your Pup are integral to its operation.
For more information about the EVHS, visit www.etowahvalleyhumane.org or call 770-383-3338. More details on the U.S. Disc Dog World Finals, which will be Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., visit www.woofsports.com or www.usddn.com.