Written by Charlene Proto
Ask your 10 year old child if they would prefer to forgo gifts this year at their birthday and instead make a charitable donation to a needy cause? You probably would not receive a very positive response. Actually Bailey Zannis was not overly enthused either when her Mom Brooke made just that suggestion last year. However, this year at her 11th birthday she thought the idea was great! Bailey attends Merryhill School and during the previous year one of their classes had a pet food drive for needy animals. The idea resonated with her and she decided that was exactly the way she would like to celebrate her special day.
Mom says that Bailey just “loves, loves, loves animals” and she certainly has all the toys she needs. So instead of gifts they requested their party guests to please bring a bag of dry dog or cat food for the shelter animals. The party was held at the Crystal Palace skating rink and as you can imagine they received quite a few questions about why the gift table was full of dog and cat food! Surely a few skaters and their parents had second thoughts that day about their own charitable inclinations. The parents of the children attending the party were also excited about the idea. Witnessing your young child coming home with a lesson in “giving and helping” instead of a party bag would be a wondrous gift for any family.
Bailey was very proud of herself and her friends. They donated a total of 196 pounds of dog and cat food to Heaven Can Wait Animal Society. Bailey said, “There are some dogs and cats that need food more than I need toys. I was happy to be able to help them out. And I was so proud of all my friends for donating so much food to Heaven Can Wait.”
She wanted to give recognition to all her friends and schoolmates who gave so much for such a worthy cause: Ali and Sydney Torres, Jacey Buchord , Andie Ironside , Amy Bulford, Ann Marie Radivan, Aaron Reynolds, Coby Sugars, Ryan Wiegand, Madisyn Dwiggins, Toby Mallas, Pann Mallas, and Alyssa Staggs.
The Zannis family have a rescued Sheltie in their home named Molly. As fortune would have it when Brooke was on the phone with the Sheltie rescue, a lady called in with a stray. They drove right over to the caller’s home and adopted the dog. Molly had been left alone in a foreclosed home. She was filthy and skinny, but like most rescues she blossomed into the sweetest, most grateful and loving family pet. The family has been packing for an upcoming move and Molly is visibly nervous. How do you tell an animal not to worry; that you won’t ever be left alone again!
Brooke teaches her child the value of charity. She stresses the importance of building character in the young. She thought spending Thanksgiving serving food at a homeless shelter would be a valuable lesson in recognition of the less fortunate. She is a mother who would encourage selfless actions whether they are for humans or animals. The Zannis’ are a military family and have only lived in Las Vegas for two years. They will soon relocate to New Mexico. Brooke said she is not “ready to go.” She also said that as a military family they will never be “rich monetarily, but they are blessed.”
Heaven Can Wait cats and dogs are available for adoption each weekend inside Petsmart in the Arroyo Crossing Center off I-215 and S. Rainbow. You can see them online at: www.hcws.org. Each pet is spayed/neutered and vaccinated. Cats are feline leukemia tested and dogs are graduates of our Pups on Parole prison program.