A gift of giving


From left, cousins Cooper Brock and Cale Dietrich used their birthday celebration as an opportunity to perform a good deed for local shelter animals.

Special to the News
Published: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 03:04 PM.

CHIPLEY - Like most young boys, five-year old Cooper Brock and three-year old Cale Dietrich knew just what they wanted for their birthdays. But instead of baseball mitts or toy trucks, these local children wanted to help shelter animals.

The cousins, who usually celebrate their birthdays together, asked party guests to forego the usual birthday regalia and bring supplies for Animal Control of West Florida's shelter instead.

 "The boys were very excited about the idea," said Cale's mom, Holly Dietrich. "We live on a farm, so the love for animals comes naturally to Cale. Both of them were excited at the prospect of helping the puppies and kitties."

Shelter Manager Belva Vaughn says she was touched by the boys' generosity.

"The boys have visited us before, and this was very heartwarming," said Vaughn. "If we could teach all of our children to have that much compassion for animals at that young age, just imagine how much better it would be for all our animals."

The shelter, located in Chipley, has 74 dog kennels and is quite often filled to capacity. However, Vaughn works closely with animal rescue groups nationwide to find homes for as many animals as possible.

"We do our level best to get the animals adopted after waiting for the claim period to expire," said Vaughn. We are very proactive in rehoming them."

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