PUPPY LOVE: Young philanthropist Imogen Rooney with her brother Talan and pet dog Tayla.
PUPPY LOVE: Young philanthropist Imogen Rooney with her brother Talan and pet dog Tayla.

Big heart helps Haven

THE excited face of a young girl standing behind a simple handwritten sign, "Any money small or big" tugged the heartstrings of visitors to Harbourside Markets last Sunday.

Seven-year-old Imogen Rooney from Toormina was inspired after noticing a lady in her street collected donations for Happy Paws Haven, a shelter for dogs and cats.

Animal lover Imogen told her parents, Claire and Greg Rooney, she was also going to raise funds for the shelter.

"Out of the blue Imogen started to make loom bands (wrist bands) with the idea to sell them and make money for Happy Paws Haven," Imogen's mother Claire said.

"She spent hours and hours making those bands then sat in the driveway with a bucket asking her friends in our street to support the shelter."

This enterprising seven-year-old soon realised she needed to go bigger and a one-off stall was organised at the Harbourside Markets.

With her younger brother, Talan, as a helper, Imogen raised $310 at the market stall.

After adding donations from the kindergarten in her street and from her mother's gym, the grand total Imogen raised came to $380.

Sally Rogers, president of Happy Paws Haven, was delighted with the unexpected donation.

"I thought it was wonderful for a child of that age to take the initiative," Sally said.

"We are currently upgrading our facilities so need funds urgently."

Happy Paws Haven is a not-for-profit, RSPCA-monitored shelter with a no-kill policy.

Animals are cared for until new homes can be found and they rely on community support.

"Whenever people ask me what we need I always say three things - adopt, donate or volunteer," Sally said.

"Right now we have 20 dogs at the shelter in all shapes and sizes from maltese terriers to working dogs and even a greyhound, waiting to be adopted.

"They are all desexed, heart-wormed, micro-chipped, immunised and ready to go. And they've all been temperament-tested which is important especially if you have kids.

"Even though our shelter is in Grafton, 50% of the dogs and cats here either come from or go to the Coffs Harbour region, after all we're only an hour north from you."

Donate, adopt or volunteer

  • Happy Paws Haven is open every day from 9am-4.30pm at 140 Tindal Rd Eatonsville (15km west of South Grafton). More info: happypawsgrafton.com.au, Facebook or phone 6644 9936.

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