A local high school student is looking to make a difference in the lives of the animals at the Chautauqua County Humane Society.
Kristina Gutknecht, a 17-year-old junior at Southwestern High School, recently went to the Chautauqua County Humane Society with her mother to attend a volunteer orientation. When she arrived, though, she and her mother realized that none of the dogs had beds, and many were sleeping on towels on the concrete floor.
"We went down to volunteer originally because I'm a photographer and several people had told me they were looking for a photographer," said Heather Gutknecht, Kristina's mother. "My daughter came to see if she could help, too. We went to the orientation and it was just heartbreaking. She was noticing that they didn't have any beds. We have rescue animals, and my kids just have a huge heart for them. It was absolutely heartbreaking that they didn't have the basic needs met. What we see with our animals is that as they get older, they can't just be on the hard ground, they need a bed to lay on. Their little bones ache just like anyone else."
According to Heather, there was a poster displayed at the Chautauqua County Humane Society saying that the organization was in need of $1,000 to purchase beds for the animals. The beds that are required, however, are a special design that can be cleaned and sanitized easily.
"It's separate from the "Pennies for Paws" campaign, and I think that a lot of people don't realize that," said Heather. "That money is still being used for important things, but it isn't going towards these beds."
Kristina has already raised roughly $400 for the cause, with another $150 already in the fund for the beds at the Humane Society. If she exceeds her goal, Kristina plans on donating the excess funds directly to the "Pennies for Paws" campaign, as well.
"Most of those dogs are old, and I hate to think of their poor little old bodies just laying there on that hard floor in that cell," said Kristina. "I really want to help them improve their quality of life. I would take them all home if I could."
For more information about how to help Kristina reach her goal of $1,000 for beds at the Humane Society, call Heather Gutknecht at 397-7529.