Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Matthew Faraci, Sayville

The Southampton Animal Shelter is an organization that relies on volunteers to care for the homeless dogs in our community. The number of animals in need of homes is growing every day.

The shelter provides a pathway for animals to find a nice, loving home. Without this shelter, these animals would not be able to survive. The shelter saves them from being abandoned or wandering the streets.

I got my dog there about four years ago. His name is Mickey. Mickey’s right leg has a muscle that grew wrong, so his right leg is completely straight. He cannot bend it. The Southampton Animal Shelter took him and gave him housing, food and training.

I found Mickey because my dad is the priest for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Westhampton Beach. The church does something called the blessing of the pets every year. Everyone is welcome to bring their pet to be blessed, any animal at all. The church invited the Southampton Animal Shelter to come with dogs up for adoption. They came with two dogs, Mickey and his brother.

My family and I fell in love with Mickey. We knew nobody would take him but would probably take his brother, because he did not have a disability like Mickey. So a few days later we headed off to the Southampton Animal Shelter and asked to see and adopt him.

We brought our other dog, Teeny, so they could play together and get used to each other. Teeny has a disability, too. Another reason we got Mickey is that because we can take good care of Teeny, we can take good care of Mickey. Mickey and Teeny love each other. He is an amazing, playful dog.

Next time we decide to get an animal I will be sure to suggest the Southampton Animal Shelter first.

Info: Southampton Animal Shelter, 102 Old Riverhead Rd., Hampton Bays, open seven days a week,

Jennifer Kast’s fifth-grade class, Westhampton Beach Elementary School

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