A passion for pooches sends young trio into fund-raising business

Kylie Frederick, Stephanie McElhaney and Chloe Spencer (from left) display the three dog portraits they donated to the Huntington County Humane Society, along with more than $300 earmarked for a new humane shelter. The girls raised the money through a rum
Photo by Cindy Klepper.

A duo determined to help lost and abandoned animals has expanded to become a trio, holding fast to their dream of helping to build a new shelter for the homeless pets.

"We love animals so much," says Chloe Spencer.
Spencer and friend Kylie Frederick were recognized last year by the Huntington County Humane Society for their longstanding efforts to help improve the humane shelter.

And they're still at it.

Together with fellow Crestview Middle School sixth-grader Stephanie McElhaney, they stopped by the shelter Tuesday, May 26, to drop off a cash donation of $324.51 - give or take a few cents; the girls say there was a lot of change and they're not sure their count is accurate - and three paintings of dogs to hang in a proposed new animal shelter.

They raised the money through a garage sale on Saturday, May 23.

The girls spent weeks collecting items for the sale, Frederick says, and held the sale at the home of her grandmother, Rose Hughes. Every penny of profit went to the Humane Society, and there's enough left to have another rummage sale, the girls say.

The donation is earmarked for the society's building fund.

"They try so hard and this place is so small," Frederick says, referring to the animal shelter on Thurman Poe Way.
"They need the money more than we do, McElhaney says.

"We love animals so much," Spencer chimes in.

The three dog portraits came from Spencer's family and didn't sell, so the girls decided they'd make a perfect addition to the new shelter - a dream Humane Society President Pat Merckx says may be years from fulfillment.

A new facility, designed by an architectural firm that specializes in animal shelters, will cost about $564,000, Merckx says. The society currently has only between $30,000 and $40,000 in its building fund.

The new facility would have a full veterinary clinic, staffed by volunteer veterinarians and possibly even serving as an after-hours emergency clinic for the community, she says.

It could house twice as many animals as the current shelter can handle, she says, and have isolation areas for ill and injured animals. The shelter staff would have a shower facility, needed after dealing with ill animals, as well as a garage and an educational area.

"We'd like to be out of the industrial park," Merckx says, "but unless someone donates some land, we'll build it here."

Donations for the new animal shelter can be sent to the Humane Society at 390 Thurman Poe Way, Huntington, IN 46750; checks should be marked "Building Fund" on the memo line. Gifts can also be dropped off at MarkleBank in Huntington, which holds the Humane Society's building fund trust.