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(Photo by George Vogel)

A HEART TO HOLD: Alanna Allen, a seventh grader in Somerset County, recently held a party to celebrate her 12th birthday, where she asked her family and friends to bring a donation for SAVE, the Princeton animal shelter where she adopted her dog Kira four years ago. Pictured with Alanna is Kitty, a seven-year-old cat at SAVE that is looking for a home, which Alanna is hoping to provide for her in the near future.

SAVE Receives Large Donation From Appreciative Pet Owner

Candace Braun

SAVE recently received a donation of $1,000 from the owner of a dog that was adopted from Princeton's no-kill animal shelter three years ago. The donor was 12-year-old Alanna Allen, a seventh grader at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School in Somerset County.

"I just wanted to thank SAVE for giving us such a great dog," said Alanna, who had decided to celebrate her birthday this summer by having a pool party and barbecue in her backyard, where all her friends and family were asked to bring donations for SAVE, rather than gifts for the birthday girl.

This was the third year Alanna had taken on the fundraising efforts for the shelter.

"SAVE has a special place in our heart," said Alanna's mother, Donna Allen, recalling how the animal shelter saved their own dog, Kira, from being euthanized four years ago.

"It's really SAVE that's doing such a great job," she said.

Kira, 5, is part golden retriever and part shepherd, said Ms. Allen. She was about one-year-old when SAVE rescued her from an animal shelter in Burlington County.

"She's smart as a whip," said Ms. Allen, adding that while she was just skin and bones when they first took her in, she is a happy, healthy dog now.

As if she knows what the pool parties are for each summer, Kira has become the "canine lifeguard" for the children, running laps around the outside of the pool whenever someone is swimming, she said: "She will keep her eye on anyone who has their head under water."

Alanna first thought of the idea of raising money for SAVE when she had friends and family over for her birthday three years ago. Instead of asking for gifts, she asked everyone to donate what they could, either in cash or check, to SAVE.

Ms. Allen noted that between 50 to 75 people have come to the party the last three years, helping make Alanna's goal of $1,000 in donations each time.

Along with her dog Kira, Alanna has also adopted two cats from nearby shelters, as well as a guinea pig from a neighbor. The animal adoption advocate is now looking to add another member to their family, Kitty, a seven-year-old cat that is patiently waiting for an owner to come find her at SAVE.

"There are so many animals that need good homes," said Ms. Allen, noting that there are many older animals that would be very appreciative of a home if they were adopted.

SAVE does what it can to keep the animals happy, having volunteers come in and socialize with them, she said: "SAVE does a great job of letting them out of the cage all the time."

Fred Ball, Jr., the executive director at SAVE, said that while the donation is a very large gift for SAVE to receive, it was made even more special by the thought behind it.

"The world would be a far better place with more people like Alanna," he said.

SAVE is always looking for donations to help further the shelter's cause, as well as potential owners for its many dogs and cats. For more information, contact SAVE by visiting their location at 900 Herrontown Road, by calling (609) 921-6122, or by logging onto www.save-animals.org. The shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.

SAVE Assists Shelters In Katrina Relief for Pets

Candace Braun

SAVE, Princeton's no-kill animal shelter, is currently working with CARA (Community Animal Rescue and Adoption, Inc.), a non-profit, no-kill animal rescue group with locations in Clinton and Jackson, Miss., to help take in animals that have been left homeless from Hurricane Katrina. While the shelter is often filled to capacity, SAVE is looking to house between four and eight animals that can no longer be cared for by owners who have lost their homes from the flooding.

"We wanted to do what we could," said Fred Ball, Jr., SAVE's executive director.

CARA is currently taking inventory and will soon be meeting up with a truck carrying many of the homeless animals, which will hopefully find good homes in this area, said Connie McDowell, director of SAVE's shelter operations.

"We'll find out this week when the animals will be arriving," she said, adding that while these animals may still have owners on the Gulf Coast, SAVE is looking to find them new families that are able to provide them with food and shelter.

The number of animals SAVE is able to take in will depend on how quickly the shelter is able to find them new homes, said Ms. McDowell.

To adopt an animal from SAVE, call (609) 921-6122, or visit www.save-animals.org. Residents can help with the retrieval and transfer of animals from the Gulf Coast by sending money to: CARA, P.O. Box 23, Clinton, Miss. 39060, or to The Mississippi Animal Disaster Fund, 209 South Lafayette, Starkville, Miss.



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