This Sunday, several dogs will be available for adoption at WorldCare Pet in Shunyi. They are all rescues from shelters and animal lovers like Beijing Human and Animal Environmental Education Center (BHAEEC), Jeri Lan, WorldCare Pet, and more. This will be an opportunity for families to interact with the dogs, speak to veterinarians, and possibly make a furry addition to their home.
The most impressive part? The dog adoption day is the brainchild of 13-year-old Elise Zimmerman, a Grade 8 student at the Western Academy of Beijing. She organized the event for her Girl Scouts Silver Award, a sustainable service project that requires at least 50 hours of work and planning.
Charity runs in the family, it would seem. Zimmerman’s sister, 15-year-old Michaela Zimmerman, was recently featured on China Daily for her own Silver Award project: a volunteering website called Volunteer Beijing.
Beyond Girl Scouts, Zimmerman’s strongest motivator is her love for dogs. “I have a dog of my own, a 10-year-old Australian Shepherd called Lovey,” she said over the phone. “I was scared of dogs as a baby, but that changed when she came along.”
“I did this project because I wanted people to be aware of all the shelters in Beijing and that they shouldn’t buy dogs from pet markets,” she continued.
Finding the venue wasn’t the hard part, since Zimmerman had a ready ally in WorldCare Pet’s Kiki Chen. However, she had to spread the word by making posters, putting them up at different venues (including restaurants, cafes, and school), and reaching out to magazines and newspapers.
Community response has been steady, with people dropping by WorldCare Pet to ask about the dog adoption day and WAB teachers talking about it at school. “But I can’t really predict what turnout will be like ahead of time,” Zimmerman said with a laugh. If the event goes well, she hopes to organize more dog adoption days in the future.
Her expectations for Sunday? Simple: “I hope that nice families will come and take a dog into their house.”
So what are you waiting for, nice families?
All photos courtesy of Elise Zimmerman