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Dogged determination: Five-year-old finds ways to help local shelter animals

ANNIE ELLIOTT, Community Contributor • Mar 8, 2019 at 10:27 AM

Finley Elliott is a big-hearted 5-year-old who adores animals of all kinds.

A few months ago, she started seeing the ASPCA commercials on TV and would cry because the animals were sad and cold. She wanted to save them and give them houses and blankets. Her mom explained that she couldn’t bring all the animals home because there were too many in the world, but she could do other things to help them.

They could buy them blankets and houses and food, but it costs money. If she wanted to use her piggy bank money, she could do that. Finley had a bigger and better idea: She would give her own dog’s old toys he didn’t use anymore to the shelter pets and raise money to buy them some nice new toys.

Finley decided to set up a lemonade stand in her front yard and use the money she collected for the animals. It was early December, and maybe not the best time to sell lemonade, but she was determined.

She also made jars to give to her friends and family so they could put their extra change in them for the animals. She had seen jars like that at places of business; with her mom’s help they collected and decorated many jars. She came up with a message for each one and wrote it herself. She made sure everyone she knew got one and wouldn’t let them forget to keep filling them up.

When someone tried to give one back half-full, Finley told them to take it back until it was full. Finley’s friends and family were beyond generous, and when she had rolled all her coins and taken them to the bank, she had almost $400!

Her family inquired with three shelters/rescues about what they could use most, and they spent a few hours at the pet store picking out exactly what Finley wanted to donate. She delivered the goodies, along with her own pup’s old toys, to three area shelters, including the Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue in Blountville.

Sadly, Finley’s family had to let their 13-year-old rescue dog cross the Rainbow Bridge on New Year’s Day, so the last few weeks had been especially hard for Finley and her family. Perhaps Brewtus’s toys could bring some joy to the dogs at the shelter, so Finley gathered, washed and brought them with all the goodies.

The family had aching hearts from losing Brewtus and knew the shelter deliveries would be hard for all of them. But it was the part Finley was most excited about. She wanted to hand out the toys herself, and she wasn’t scared when all the dogs barked excitedly. Her family is so proud of how hard she worked to help the animals, even though it was sad for her to not be able to give them homes. When the time is right, Finley will find a new canine companion and will continue to help the shelter pets. She is an inspiration!


Bridge Home officials are grateful for any volunteer help or donations of money and materials for the shelter. Donations of pet food, puppy pads, clumping cat litter and other materials an animal shelter needs are always appreciated, said shelter Director Regina Isenberg.
Tax-deductible donations are always welcome and can be mailed to Bridge Home Animal Rescue at P.O. Box 654, Blountville, TN 37617. For more information on other ways you can help Bridge Home, call (423) 239-5237.

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