Dog Rescue Stories: SANTA KLAWS “Letters for Shelters” – Presented by KLAWS and Oki Doggy

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By Jarissa Aquinde, Positively Woof Rescue and Adoption Story Editor

KLAWS (Kids Loving Animals within Shelters) started two years ago when Karen was looking for a way to bring her passion for education and animal rescue work together. When her school, Castaic Middle School, had a sign up sheet for teachers to start a new club on campus, Karen’s idea came into fruition! She announced the start of KLAWS and to her surprise, close to 90% of the student body showed up for the first informational meeting. She knew she had something special. These kids wanted to give back and help animals in need. Karen felt as if she opened a door for the future generation of animal lovers, supporters and rescuers. In that moment, she dedicated herself to the club’s mission statement:  The Art of Teaching Compassion and The Power of Positivity.
Since it’s first meeting, the KLAWS Club has been holding meetings twice a month and having special events at the Castaic Animal Shelter every few months. In their monthly meetings, they educate the students about being a responsible animal owner, careers in the animal/rescue industry, and of course, the importance of adopting vs. shopping! They also have special guests (two and four-legged) who share their amazing stories. In the past, they have had Cinimon Clark from Animal Planet’s Pitbull’s and Parolee’s and her baby “Crawfish”, Abe and “Bubba” from Bubba’s Crew/The Art of Living-Personal Training, Performance and Wellness Corp, CJ  from RescueStrong Supply Co., Owen, the social media sensation, HeArtSpeak Photographer, Rita Earl and more!
The KLAWS club has held numerous special events at their “adopted” shelter, Castaic Animal Care Center. At these events, they hold monthly “Bark for Books” events, where the students of the club read their favorite stories and/or do homework with the dogs. These events promote both literacy and compassion at its finest. The students at these events are building reading skills, self-esteem, confidence, communication skills and of course, compassion. The animals themselves truly have enjoyed these events as well. When a child sits near them to read, they become calm, improve their social skills which prepares them for adoption, and it improves their overall sense of feeling loved. These events can only be described as “magical”. The kids of KLAWS held a special event, “Focus on Forever” last year where Los Angeles Pet & Portrait/HeARTS Speak Artist, Rita Earl educated the students on the art of shelter photography. The students took this knowledge and put it to use in their own animal shelter images. The results were breathtaking!
On Decembr 14th, 2017, the kids of KLAWS teamed up with Oki Doggy Pets / The Oki Doggy Trade Project,  “Owen” and “Lucky Lovable Louie” to create the most joyous event for the animals of the Castaic Shelter, “Santa KLAWS-Letters for Shelters”. In this event, the students incorporated OkiDoggy’s “Trade Project” which “creates an invisible chain of love that connects good vibes through rescued animals with current shelter animals.” It’s mission was to “create a positive impact from beginning to the end of the chain with the same goal in mind, helping an animal in need”…and boy did it deliver!  People of all ages, all around the country donated letters of love and hope attached to donated collars to the project and the students of KLAWS read these letters to the shelter animals. Needless to say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the shelter and every animal heard lovely words of encouragement.
Outside of these special events, the KLAWS kids collect donations, have fundraisers and enjoy decorating the shelter throughout the year.
*The club has been recognized by the Supervisor of Los Angeles Michael D. Antonovich, California Assemblyman, Donte Acosta, local media of Santa Clarita, California Credit Union ($500.00 Grant!)  and now, Positively Woof!

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“Santa KLAWS-Letters for Shelters” Event was spectacular! 🎅🏻 It was a joyous event and we thank everyone that supported us! We hope the staff and animals @castaicanimalcarecenter have the happiest of holidays! A special thank you to our Castaic Middle School band and choir members for the beautiful music, @homedepot for the perfect Christmas tree, California Credit Union for honoring our teacher and club with a $500 check! Thank you to California Assemblyman @asm_dante_acosta for making a surprise appearance and helping us decorate our tree! 🙌🏻🎄 @ohhelloowen and @bubbas_crew thank YOU for being our cutest little derpy elves!! @okidoggypets Fabiana, you special, compassionate friend we love you for who you are and what you do for this community! ❤️🐶 @rita_earl_blackwell our favorite photographer, thank you so much-we love you!! We are so grateful for such amazing support, thank you everyone! #iheartrescue #thetradeproject @castaicusd @lacoanimalcare

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Larry Kay is the award-winning coauthor of Training the Best Dog Ever, which became a #1 best seller in dog training on Amazon Kindle. He is Leader of the Pack at Positively Woof, which helps shelter dogs get adopted by making videos and raises awareness and funds. Larry is an award-winning dog filmmaker and has been a frequent contributor to the American Animal Hospital Association and Dog Fancy magazine.
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