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Noah Wallace Students Have a Mission: ‘Paws for a Cause’

They're raising funds for the homeless dog population.

Noah Wallace art teacher Suzie Magnee with a rescue pup. Submitted photo by Elaine Magnee
Noah Wallace art teacher Suzie Magnee with a rescue pup. Submitted photo by Elaine Magnee
By Lisa Lenkiewicz

Noah Wallace School art teacher Suzie Magnee has two beloved dogs she adopted as rescue animals. “Sir Charles Woofington,” or Charlie for short (a Shih Tzu/ Poodle mix), was rescued from Los Angeles, and “Lady Willow” (a Lab/Chow mix), came from Vermont.

A devoted animal advocate, Magnee learned from her third and fourth grade Farmington students that many of their families also adopted rescue dogs, most from the locally run charitable organization, Emily’s Friends Rescue Group.

Magnee had a brainstorm: Why not raise funds to finance a creative arts project to further Noah Wallace’s mission of helping students become caring, responsible citizens by increasing awareness of the homeless dog population?

In fact, “Empty Dog Bowls” was started with just that goal in mind. Based on the “Empty Bowls” community art collaborative that raises funds to help feed the needy, the Empty Dog Bowls project raised money by creating and selling ceramic dog bowls filled with homemade dog treats. The proceeds supported Emily’s Friends Rescue Group, operated by former Noah Wallace parent Jan Borreil.

Magnee is proud that 15 students joined “Paws for a Cause” after-school meetings to help make the dog bowls.  Two field trips were arranged with special needs students at West Woods Upper Elementary School. Noah Wallace students went to West Woods and baked doggie treats and West Woods students came to Noah Wallace to help make the bowls.

Most of the ceramic bowls were sold last month at the school’s talent show. More will be sold at the Ruff Start Happy Tails rescue event on May 19, from noon-4 p.m. at George’s Pizza in Unionville. Proceeds from that sale will be donated to Ruff Start Happy Trails, said Magnee.

As part of the project, students also made 16 fleece dog blankets that were donated to animals in shelters and to the Farmington Animal Control.

Proceeds from the sale of the bowls and treats also sponsored a litter of puppies from a shelter in Tennessee to various foster homes in the Farmington area. A highlight was a visit to the school from the frisky pups, all of whom have been adopted.  (Noah Wallace second grade teacher Jaimee Johnson is now the proud owner of one of the puppies.)

”Our donation also helped treat the mother of the puppies (a Basset Hound) for heartworm and other medical issues,” said Magnee.

To further educate students, several guest speakers were invited to teach about the importance of dogs in society. These speakers included Officer Joe Capodiferro, who brought his police dog, Drak, to the classroom;  Charlene Rogers, who visited from the Farmington Animal Control and was given eight dog blankets to bring back; and Teresa Pelham, author of “Roxy’s Forever Home,” who spoke about how she adopted her rescue dog.

In addition, the group organized a collection of gently used dog items for the charitable organization “Blankets and Bowls” for homeless animals in shelters, rescues and foster homes. Bins are placed around the school this month to help collect the donated items.

“This was an important lesson on how art can serve as a vehicle for social change,” summed up Magnee.

To see videos and learn more about the project, visit http://sites.google.com/a/fpsct.org/paws-for-a-cause.

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