Downriver girl raises money for animal shelter with baked biscuits
By SUE SUCHYTA
SOUTHGATE – When Sydney Robinson, 12, of Southgate volunteered to help Downriver Central Animal Control last summer, she never dreamed she would bake doggie delights to raise nearly $500 for the shelter.
Because of liability concerns, minors may not work with adoptable animals at the shelter unless directly supervised by a parent or guardian. Since she still wanted to help the DCAC, 14300 Reaume Parkway, Robinson launched an ongoing shelter fundraiser she calls Cookies for Canines.
Based on a recipe found online, she makes dog biscuits using a proprietary blend of pumpkin, whole-wheat flour, eggs and peanut butter. She sells the treats at a local ice arena where she figure skates, at community theater events, and through her Cookies for Canines Facebook page.
The canine cookies, shaped like a dog bone, sell for $2 for a bag of six snacks.
The Robinsons also make and sell rope toys to raise money for the DCAC-affiliated Wyandotte Adoption Center, 1170 Grove St.
For more information about the animal shelter, call 734-246-1328, or go to southgatemi.org/index.php?pagelist=animal. For the adoption center, call 734-324-4445 or go to wacshelter.com.
Robinson said word of mouth indicates that her customers’ dogs have all enjoyed the treats.
“My dog will pretty much eat everything, but we have seen a couple of videos of other dogs eating them,” she said.
Chris Robinson said she is proud of her daughter, who helps other animal welfare groups by donating baskets of Canine Cookies to fundraisers for the Shelter to Home Animal Rescue pet adoption center, 266 Oak St. in Wyandotte, and the Precious Animal Welfare Society of Michigan.
Sydney Robinson encourages others to help animal shelters.
“It doesn’t matter how much you give, as long as you are giving something,” she said. “It can make a difference.”
Southgate animal control officer Aaron Bertera said it is phenomenal for someone so young to make a commitment to help her community and rescued animals. He said the shelter welcomes volunteers, and donations, including pet food and litter.
“The need is always there, unfortunately,” Bertera said. “There are so many different ways that people can help out. You do not need to come down to the facility to donate. The main thing is just for people to want to volunteer and commit themselves.”
Animal control officer Chuck Gillenwater said the shelter also appreciates donations of blankets, towels, bleach and cleansing soap.
He said they need adult volunteers to help at the shelter and to spend time socializing adoptable animals.
“It is a way of giving back, and a way of donating your time to help with the animals,” Gillenwater said.
He said they need adult volunteers willing to go through training and then walk the dogs at the DCAC.
“They don’t have a lot of room to exercise and right now we don’t have that many volunteers that can take the dogs out and get them outside to stretch their legs, step on real grass instead of cement,” Gillenwater said. “That is another part of giving – donating their time to walk the dogs.”
He said minor teens can volunteer as dog walkers, but must be with a parent or guardian.
Animal control officer Emily Gorkiewicz encourages potential volunteers to stop by the Southgate DCAC from 10 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to see what help is needed at the shelter, and offsite, collecting donations and fundraising.
She said they need volunteers to photograph the animals and update the shelter’s website and social media pages.
“There’s plenty of ways to volunteer,” Gorkiewcz said. “We need volunteers at this facility more than anything. We are desperate for volunteers.”
She said Sydney Robinson’s efforts show how someone can help even if they cannot volunteer on-site.
“She is such a sweet girl,” Gorkiewicz said. “What she does for the animals is completely awesome. We really appreciate her here, and we look forward to working with her in the future.”