Jamestown girl’s birthday wish? Gifts — for Prairie Paws RescueFor her ninth birthday, one Jamestown girl didn’t ask for Hannah Montana T-shirts or “High School Musical” DVDs. Instead, she asked for chew toys, collars and catnip. Kennedy Koch, 8, asked her 10 or so pool party guests to bring donations for Prairie Paws Rescue instead of gifts for herself. Kennedy turns 9 on Tuesday.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
For her ninth birthday, one Jamestown girl didn’t ask for Hannah Montana T-shirts or “High School Musical” DVDs.
Instead, she asked for chew toys, collars and catnip.
Kennedy Koch, 8, asked her 10 or so pool party guests to bring donations for Prairie Paws Rescue instead of gifts for herself. Kennedy turns 9 on Tuesday.
She didn’t really care about presents, the third-grader said Wednesday, sitting next to a cardboard box full of cat food, dog treats and a Snoopy chew toy. And giving to Prairie Paws Rescue just seemed like a good idea.
“It felt good afterwards and that I was doing the right thing,” she said.
Prairie Paws Rescue, a foster home-based animal rescue program, offers a shelter for pets in need of care. The pets stay with foster families until they are adopted into a permanent home. In the organization’s two years, Prairie Paws has cared for 360 pets, said Kaye John, organizer.
“They come into us (our program) and they basically have nothing,” John said.
Sometimes families surrender animals to Prairie Paws and other times the animals come from puppy mills or area impounds. Pets have feelings, John said, and when they come to Prairie Paws, they have nothing of their own.
Many of the animals aren’t socialized and have never interacted with other animals or humans, said Brenda Ebel, Prairie Paws vice president.
“They don’t even know what outside is, or grass,” she said.
That’s why the gifts from Kennedy are so important, she said.
“I think what Kennedy has done is very noble,” John said.
Kennedy’s idea came from her preliminary birthday plans to pair up with a friend for her party, said her mother, Paula Koch. Kennedy didn’t want to ask her friends to bring a gift for her and for her friend, so she asked for donations instead.
The party pairing didn’t work out, Paula said, but the donation idea remained.
Kennedy chose Prairie Paws because she, her mom, her father, Mike, and brother, Ryder, 5, walked animals left in the care of the Prairie Paws shelter when floodwaters rose earlier this year. Prairie Paws teamed with the former Jamestown Auto Center to provide care to animals that lost their homes because of flooding.
“We all have a big love of animals,” Paula said.
The Koch family has six pets of its own — two dogs and four turtles.
So Kennedy, Paula and Ryder gave the donations to Prairie Paws at Tractor Supply Company in Jamestown Wednesday. Prairie Paws volunteers bring the animals to the store once a month so the pets can interact with the public.
Kennedy’s donation was “awesome,” said Brian Bertsch, TSC manager.
“There ain’t a 9-year-old in the world that would do what she did,” he said.
Kennedy said she already has plans to donate her gifts next year.
To provide foster care, adopt a pet or for more information about Prairie Paws, visit its Web sites at http://prairiepawsrescue.com or http://petfinder.com or contact Kaye John at 320-4553.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at email@example.com