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More in News
School donations help local animal shelter
HAPPY TO HELP — Zachary Boutot, 9, of Paris Elementary School developed a community service project at the school to collect food, toys and treats for animals at the Responsible Pet Care shelter in Norway.
GIVING — Zachary and Dominique, far right, hold kittens at Responsible Pet Care in Norway. The cousins posed with RPC staff after dropping off donations they received specifically for the shelter.
OXFORD HILLS — Dominique Boutot, 14, and her cousin, Zachary Boutot, 9, wanted to help spread Christmas cheer to the cats and dogs at Responsible Pet Care, an animal shelter in Norway.
With help from their aunt, Jennifer Boutot, the kids organized a pet supply donation drive at each of their schools.
Dominique is an eighth grader at Oxford Hills Middle School and Zachary is a third grader at Paris Elementary School.
RPC is a feline and canine shelter that takes in strays from 14 towns. It is currently hoping to move to a larger facility, but is still in need of donations.
Dominique and Zachary are both animal lovers, who both want to help the animals at the shelter with everything from food, to toys, to blankets.
Dominique said she got the idea of donating to RPC from including her family pets during Christmas – the Boutots have five dogs and cats.
“It’s nice to give the animals something for Christmas too,” Dominique said.
“When we just had cats, we would get them Christmas presents. I thought the animals at the shelter should have Christmas too.”
Zachary wanted to help the animals living at the shelter. “I didn’t want the pets to be bored or hungry, and I wanted them to be able to go for walks,” he explained.
At Paris Elementary School, the school decorated a tree and placed gifts for the animal shelter beneath it.
“The pile kept growing,” Mary Lou Peterson, assistant principal, said. “Someone would bring in something [new] everyday.”
With donations from the schools, classmates and their aunt Jennifer, Dominique and Zachary loaded up the car with pet food, toys, treats, leashes, blankets and food bowls for the animals at the shelter.
Although donations from both Paris Elementary and OHMS filled the trunk, the family still went to the big box stores for more items.
“The car was packed,” Jennifer said.
The kids each had two weeks to gather donations from the schools before dropping them off at the shelter.
"Their eyes popped open when they saw how full the trunk was," Jennifer said, of Dominique and Zachary.
"They [RPC] couldn’t thank us enough. The donations we brought filled the whole back room.”
Dominique said her favorite part was visiting the shelter with all of the gifts and donations and seeing the animals excited about the toys and treats.
“Even if an animal’s in the shelter, they can still have something,” Dominique said. “Christmas is about giving.”
“They brought us tons," Lucille Larson, manager at RPC, said. "These two kids are amazing, and they’re always looking for ways to help us. And they’re going to continue."
"It’s great when young kids do this, and these kids did it entirely on their own. The incentive that they have is just incredible," Larson continued.
In elementary school, Dominique raised money after the tsunami, collecting change and eventually raising $400.
“This kid has a heart of gold,” Jennifer said, of her niece.
Dominique hopes to continue organizing fundraisers at the high school. She said she’s already planning her next one: to help the shelter raise money for their new facility.
"There is a desparate need for a new shelter," Larson said.
Because RPC began taking dogs as well as cats, it needs more room.
Larson said RPC still has a way to go, however, before it reaches its $350,000 goal to purchase a larger facility.
"It’s incredible to have children doing for the community what these two have [done]," Larson said.
Zachary wanted to thank RPC for taking care of the animals.