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Rowan girl aims to aid animals in local shelters

Reese Martin loves her pets, a cat and a dog. No doubt they’ll have special treats under the tree on Christmas morning. But Reese also wants animals in area shelters to have some treats. That’s why she’s come up with “Operation Let Pets Have Christmas Too!”
The spunky fourth-grader had heard about Operation Christmas Child at church and her school, Mount Ulla Elementary. Operation Christmas Child delivers shoeboxes full of gifts to needy children around the world.
“I thought that if people could have Christmas, pets could have Christmas, too,” she says.
Her own pets would surely agree. Reese has a gray kitten named Gray that she adopted from a local animal hospital, and a Golden retriever named Guppie.
A dog named for a fish? Why not?
“When we first got him, he was really small,” Reese explains. “I thought he would stay that small so that’s why I named him that.”
She continues, “I like animals because they’re loyal and soft, and if you feel sad, they can cuddle up with you.”
Reese is the daughter of Jeffrey and Kellie Martin. She and her mom contacted local animal shelters to determine what was needed. Reese is asking for donations of new cat and dog food, cat litter, cat and dog treats, new toys and cleaning supplies. She’s also accepting monetary donations. Checks may be made out to the organization of your choice: Rowan County Animal Shelter, Humane Society of Rowan County and Faithful Friends of Salisbury.
“She is very passionate about this project,” Kellie says. “I thought it was brilliant for her to come up with it. I just had to figure out a way to implement it.”
Reese and her mom have put flyers all over downtown Salisbury, and a friend distributed flyers in downtown China Grove. Reese and Kellie recently drove through the towns and were delighted to see the flyers in store windows. Her mom also created a Facebook page, Operation Let Pets Have Christmas Too.
“I gave a flyer to two of my favorite teachers at school,” Reese says, “and one gave $5 and one gave $20.” She adds that the school secretary donated six bags of dog food.
Reese says that her favorite subject in school is reading. She dances with Center Stage Dance Co., and braved frigid temperatures Wednesday to march with her fellow dancers in the Holiday Caravan Parade.
And, of course, she loves spending time with her pets.
Reese and Kellie will be at Holiday Night Out tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. in Downtown Salisbury. They’ll have a table set up outside the Literary Bookpost and Just the Thing, so stop by to see them if you’re out and about. Reese would love to talk with you about animals and books, and she’d love to have some contributions to her project.
Of course, she may have to step away from her table for just a few minutes, she says. “I might have to go in Literary Bookpost a couple of times, because I love books. I’m into mythology really bad. It’s serious.”
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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