Bohdi the dog must be one macho canine. He didn’t like the two leashes his owners got him because the leashes have flower designs on them. So Bohdi’s littlest owner, Brooke Dobbs, brought the leashes and some other doggy goodies to her school as part of a schoolwide effort to collect food, toys and supplies for dogs and cats at the Española Valley Humane Society.
Bohdi is a Lab/golden retriever mix. Dobbs is a second-grader in teacher Mary Beacham’s classroom at Gonzales Community School on West Alameda Street — and one of the more than 500 kids in the school who spent the last three weeks collecting for the donation drive.
Nina Stively, community outreach director for the Española shelter, said hundreds of animals pass through the facility in the span of a month. The shelter currently has about 40 dogs and 60 cats — all of whom wouldn’t mind having a Santa Claus to adopt them come Christmas Eve, or any day of the year.
“It’s cold out there now, and it’s nice to get the animals inside, warm, safe and eating something,” Stively said. She noted that the shelter could use some more cat food, since donations tend to favor the canine population.
The donation drive was orchestrated by the shelter, the Sup restaurant on Cordova Road and Gonzales Community School (whose principal, Mike Leigh, proudly noted that he had adopted several animals from the Española shelter).
By Thursday, the school’s kids had collected nearly 500 items in all and were loading them up in a van for delivery. Keeping a vigilant eye on the proceedings were two of the shelter’s dogs: Lil, an agreeable pit bull who serves as the shelter’s mascot, and Merry (as in Christmas), a cute Shar-Pei clad in a holiday sweater.
The classroom that collected the most items will be rewarded in January with free lunches by Sup’s executive chef, Antonio Damiano. He said he will likely prepare something vegetarian and organic for the class.
Many of the students in Beacham’s class — most of whom donned Santa Claus hats Thursday — said they owned dogs and/or cats. One also owns a tortoise, another has horses, and one proudly proclaimed that she owns a turtle and a rat.
Asked why it is important to gather up food and toys for needy animals, second-grader Christina Chavez replied, “Some dogs and cats don’t have enough food, and people sometimes abuse them. They just let them out and they don’t care about them.” Her point was echoed by classmate Francesca Duran, who said, “It’s important for them to have something to eat and bones to chew on and to have more care.”
Alas, as diligent as Beacham’s class was in its collecting efforts, her students were topped by the kindergartners in Kathleen Perea’s class, who collected close to 80 items. Most of these kindergartners said they own dogs, some have cats, and one boy said he owns beetles.
Kindergartner Riley Rheinheimer said she and her mother bought some animal toys from Target and then, when her own dog wasn’t looking, she grabbed some of his food to bring to the Española drive. Her dog didn’t notice, she said, “because it was canned food.”
Kindergartner Jeremiah Alejo said his class wanted to help animals during this holiday season, “Because if the dogs and cats don’t eat, they die, and then people won’t be able to buy them.”
Stively said people can drop off donated items at the Barkin’ Boutique, which is located on Guadalupe Street near the DeVargas Center.
Friday, Dec. 21, is the last day of school before winter break. Santa Fe Public Schools’ classes resume Monday, Jan. 7.
Contact Robert Nott at 986-3021 or firstname.lastname@example.org.