A young Stratford teenager’s passion for animals helped give the P.E.I. Humane Society a little boost recently.
Alyssa Rix, 13, was hanging out at her house with her 12-year-old cousin, Lauren Jonasson, from Hammonds Plains, N.S., when they decided to pass the time by making bracelets and baking cookies.
The problem was, they didn’t have any money on them so Alyssa went rifling through her parents' closet and finally found a Sobeys gift card in her mother’s jewelry box.
Off they went to Sobeys to get the ingredients.
When all was said and done, Alyssa and Lauren, decided to head out into the community to see if they could sell the bracelets and cookies.
“We walked for five-and-a-half hours and we got, like, $301,’’ Alyssa said.
Rather than keep the money, they decided to take it directly to the P.E.I. Humane Society so it could be used to care for animals in need.
“They could always use help, right, because they’re always taking in animals and some of them need help,’’ Alyssa said.
Brandi Rix, Alyssa’s mother, said the humane society was shocked that such a young person would do such a thoughtful thing.
“She’s always had a soft spot for animals,’’ Brandi said. “She’s hoping to become a vet someday. She’s always been an animal lover.’’
It isn’t hard to see how much Alyssa loves animals. The family has two golden doodles dogs, two ragdoll cats, one Siamese cat, two parakeet birds and one bearded dragon while her 11-year-old brother, Garrett, has two beta fish.
Alyssa currently volunteers at the Abegweit Veterinary Clinic. She’s even given some thought to having a farm someday.
Jennifer Harkness, development manager at the humane society, said seeing kids fundraise and want to give back to the animals is truly humbling.
“Not only is she helping the shelter animals today, kids like Alyssa will continue to be future advocates for animal welfare. She and many others are examples of how you can step up and make a difference. Thank you to the kids who raise funds, collect donations and wish list items and help spread the importance of animal care in our community. It’s pretty amazing.’’
As for rifling through her parents closets and mom’s jewelry box, Brandi shrugs it off.
“It’s all good,’’ Brandi said, looking proudly at her daughter. “She’s such a great cook and such a great baker. If she ever wants to go to Sobeys and pick up a few things she’s welcome to do it.’’
And mom struggles to find the words to describe how she feels knowing what Alyssa and Lauren did once they decided to go door-to-door with their products.
“I couldn’t believe it,’’ Brandi says. “I mean, I wasn’t surprised but I was surprised all at the same time. I just thought it was awesome. It was such a great thing for them to do. It doesn’t surprise me at all that she was this thoughtful, that’s just who she is, especially when it comes to animals."
And if Alyssa finds herself on a farm someday, she already knows how she would start to stock it.
“I’d love to have some alpacas,’’ she says.
Alyssa said this really started as something fun to do and keep them busy before Lauren went back to Nova Scotia.
But for Alyssa, donating the money to the humane society is simply just a natural extension of her passion for animals.
“It just made me feel good.’’