When Jessie Moran joined the Huron High School Animal Advocate Club two years ago when it was formed in her sophomore year, she was already well into her walk as an animal lover.
Well, she’s much more than an animal lover. She’s a full-fledged animal advocate.
“I’ve been a vegetarian since the seventh grade and I’ve been volunteering at the Humane Society of Huron Valley since I was 12,” said Moran, a 17-year-old senior who leads the Huron High School AAC. “When I saw the posters my sophomore year publicizing a new Animal Advocates Club, I knew right away that was the place for me.”
The place for Moran is also a place for about a dozen other Huron students who perform service for animals, raise funds for the Humane Society, support animal welfare and raise awareness about treatment of animals.
The AAC began in 2016 when Hannah Kim – who has since graduated – approached Huron English teacher Kristie King-Freyre about becoming advisor of a new club. Kim had heard King-Freyre speak of being a vegetarian since she was 15, how she had rescued dogs and how her son had conducted a project at the Humane Society.
King-Freyre didn’t take long to agree to become the group’s advisor.
“When I thought about the good things the students wanted to do for animals, I thought it was a great idea,” she said. “And, I want to stress that it’s the students that do it. I just open up my room the first and third Monday of the month (during 8th hour for AAC meetings). It’s a student-run organization.”
The AAC is preparing for its annual fund-raiser for the Humane Society of Huron Valley. Club members have been making animal “plushies” for the past month or so, and will sell them for $2 or a donation beginning Jan. 7 when winter break is over. Plushies are actually homemade, furry animal heads – dogs, cats and bunnies – that students often pin on their backpacks.
Proceeds from the fund-raiser will go toward buying supplies on the Humane Society “wish list.” Last year, the fund-raiser raised about $200, and the Club bought dog food, cat food, dog toys, cat toys, spray cheese (to help animals take pills) and other supplies.
The AAC in the past has held blanket and towel drives to donate for the animals in the Humane Society of Huron Valley, which – Moran is quick to point out – is a no-kill shelter.
“The Humane Society is a great place to go if you’re thinking about getting a pet,” said Moran, whose family has three cats and two dogs. “You can adopt animals that need a good home.”
Moran obviously feels strongly about the treatment of animals; she disdains “puppy mills,” and she talks freely about mistreatment of farm animals.
“The rest of the club and myself don’t mind educating kids about animals,” she said. “I don’t try to push my beliefs on anyone, but if they ask how I feel, I tell them.
“I want people to have all the information about the treatment of animals that they can.”
Other plans under consideration for the AAC are to sponsor a “meatless Monday,” sponsor a pet walk or assist the Human Society with theirs, and have a study session at “Tiny Lions” – a cat café where pets are up for adoption.
Both King-Freyre and Moran say it’s all about making life easier for animals.
“I think that’s the key behind the club,” said King-Freyre. “Everyone in the club has a love for animals, and even if it’s just a small way, the kids want to help make life easier for them.”