Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How a Fourth-Grader Makes A Difference to Animals

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How a Fourth-Grader Makes A Difference to Animals

Article excerpt

For as long as she can remember, Kendall Thirlwell has loved animals.

But for this fourth-grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Louisville, Ky., caring for animals extends far beyond her dog and her guinea pig.

Kendall was named the 1996 "National Be Kind to Animals Kid" this fall by the American Humane Association for her work on behalf of animals as a volunteer, fund-raiser, and radio talk-show host. Three years ago, at age 7, she started to volunteer every Sunday at EnviroPet, an animal shelter and pet store in Louisville. "First I would start with cleaning the cages and that type of thing," Kendall says in a phone interview. "Then I got more interactive with the animals. I would get them out and play with them and give them attention, because they're in these little kennels and they have to be there all day. Sometimes longer than just a day, because they're not adopted that quickly." She calmed down a feisty cat, for example, and gained the trust of a frightened dog that had been badly abused. "Kendall has been so helpful," says Jeff Seidenfaden, owner of EnviroPet. "She is so selfless in the way she acts with animals and has proven how one little person can make a big difference." So impressed was Mr. Seidenfaden that he invited Kendall to have her own spot on his radio show "Creature Feature," Louisville's only radio talk show about pets (on 790 WWKY). For the past year and a half, Kendall has been the kid correspondent. "If it was another way of helping animals, that was what I wanted to do," she says. "I want to get education out about animals." On the show, Kendall conducts interviews with kids as well as adults. She spoke with Gary Wilkes, an author and syndicated newspaper pet columnist. Her weekly spots include "Pet Projects" (things young people can do to learn more about animals) and "Pet of the Week" (which highlights a pet in need of adoption, often an older animal). One time she hosted the entire one-hour show when Seidenfaden temporarily lost his voice. Often she will close with the reminder: "Be responsible pet owners, and love and care for your pets forever." Last year, Kendall decided to get involved with the Kentucky Humane Society's aluminum-can drive to raise funds for animal shelters. She organized teams of kids at her school and encouraged them to collect cans. Each day she would get on the intercom and say to her schoolmates: "You can help." Help also came from her family. Her mother did daily pickups from the school. Her dad and older brother, Taylor, helped count the cans. All told, they amassed 15,000 cans - in their basement. That translated into $500 for the Humane Society. All of Kendall's good work clicked when Seidenfaden learned of the "Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest." He knew Kendall would be the perfect candidate, so he nominated her. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.