One Pawprint at a Time


Korin Elhadad, 12th Grade


“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” -Voltaire


It was the middle of February, there was still snow piled up on the sides of the streets but water was slowly dripping off the rooftops. Hesitantly approaching a small one story building that housed Bergen County Protect and rescue, I met with Ms. Acevedo, who works in the Teaneck High School FORUM and runs a few different clubs including the Animal Appreciation Club. That day, other volunteers and I spent time taking care of several puppies who were recently brought to the shelter from the Southern region of the United States. We bathed them, cleaned their cages and got to socialize them and get them used to people.

The volunteer event was orchestrated by Ms. Acevedo, through the Animal Appreciation Club. The Animal Appreciation Club was founded by a student years ago who wanted a club at Teaneck High to help animals, and Ms. Acevedo readily became the coordinator. Although the club officially started a year before she came, Ms. Acevedo said “When I came to work in the FORUM, the original coordinator asked me if I liked animals. I wanted to be a vet when I was younger but I wasn’t really great at science. When I said yes, they made me the runner and it was history from there.”  There have been many other opportunities like this to aid animals on the “frontline” but there are also events to help animals in a more general aspect.

Other than direct volunteering at places like Bergen Protect and Rescue, the Animal Appreciation club has also organized fundraisers to raise money and supplies for animals in need through donations. “My favorite event is the carnival, even though we don’t do it anymore. It’s the one event when we could take a bunch of kids and see all different kinds of dogs all dressed up. It’s such a nice and family oriented event and seeing dogs get adopted is the best” says Ms. Acevedo with a smile on her face. After the New Year, the Animal Appreciation Club will be having a pet supply drive to collect items and donate them to local shelters. If you would like to donate anything from blankets to food drop it off at the FORUM.

The Animal Appreciation Club is about showing love, compassion, and appreciation for animals. That day volunteering at the Rescue shelter and the volunteer opportunities that followed were some of the most gratifying experiences I have ever had.