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Going to the dogs … and cats
9-year-old donates birthday money to animal shelter
Girl Donates 2 es
Savannah Farr, 9, reaches to pet two cats next to the window Wednesday afternoon at the Humane Society of Forsyth County. Farr donated all of her birthday money to the shelter. - photo by Emily Saunders
Homeless pets — and those who love them most — better hope Savannah Farr lives a long, long life.

For her ninth birthday earlier this month, Farr decided to forego presents and asked friends to bring money.

“I asked people at my birthday party to bring money for the animal shelter instead of presents,” the home school student said. “I have enough stuff already and I just wanted to help animals.”

Wednesday afternoon, Farr delivered donations from her Oct. 1 birthday party to the Humane Society of Forsyth County, a non-profit no-kill shelter on Keith Bridge Road.

She presented society president Tim Link with a brightly-decorated envelope containing $156.

“It’s an awesome thing to do,” Link said.

“Especially for young people to recognize the situation, where they can help out, step forward and do some good. We’re ready to recruit her [as a volunteer] and bring her on board.”

Link gave Farr, her mother Donna and little brother Austin a special tour of the shelter, where about 30 cats and 30 dogs are housed until they can be adopted. The society has another 70 cats and 30 dogs living with foster families.

Donna Farr explained her daughter has developed a penchant for birthday-related philanthropy.

“This is her second year that she’s done this for her birthday,” her mother said.

“[Last] year she did it for an orphanage in Guatemala. And this year she wanted to do this.”

While $156 may seem a small contribution, Sandra Morse, publicity chairwoman for the shelter, sees the gift as big on heart and spirit.

“I think it’s tremendous that Savannah, at that age, has the desire to give back to the community and give back to animals,” Morse said. “I hope it will inspire some other young people out there to do the same thing. Every little bit makes a big difference.”

Like many volunteer-based organizations that depend solely on donations of time and money, the nonprofit humane society has felt the economic crunch of late.

Funds are down, and homeless pets — especially following home foreclosures and evictions — are up.

“Overall we’re taking in more pets,” Link said. “And the good news is we’re placing more pets.”

And somehow in these dark days, a light of love for animals gives hope to those left feeling unwanted and forgotten — especially the furry, four-legged kind.

“I made sure (Savannah) was really sure she wanted to do it,” her mother said. “And there was no question in her mind. So I thought, well, that’s great. This seems to be her thing.”