King’s Fork High School sophomore Skyla Williams displays examples of the shoes, purses and backpacks she’s collecting to raise money for “adopt me” vests for the Suffolk Humane Society.

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Old shoes gone to the dogs

Published 10:21pm Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A King’s Fork High student is hoping to collect as many gently used pairs of shoes, purses and backpacks as possible to convert them into cash to help find homes for rescued dogs.

Skyla Williams has set herself the goal of raising at least $500, which she will use to purchase vests for adoptable dogs to wear at Suffolk Humane Society events.

“They are fluorescent vests for dogs to say ‘adopt me,’” Williams said. “Right now it’s kind of hard to tell which animals need to be adopted and which animals are already adopted.”

The sophomore’s grandmother, Janet Gurwell, found a website which converts the items Williams is collecting into cash — a buck for each pair of shoes, purse and backpack.

Williams wants to raise “at least $500,” enough for 20 vests, and said she has already collected 25 to 30 pairs of shoes, 11 purses and a few backpacks, which she calculated is “one-tenth of the way.”

Items can be dropped off at any Mike Duman Auto Sales location, the Suffolk Humane office in Driver, or call Gurwell at Campbell Plumbing on 434-1405 to make other arrangements.

“I’m asking people to help us get to our goal,” Williams said. “If we raise more, we’ll get more vests for the animals, so that more can be adopted and have forever homes.”

Williams said she became a member of Suffolk Humane after participating in its Mutt Strut fundraiser last year.

She says she has 15 animals at home, adding, “My grandmother takes in cats for adoption so there are less cats on the streets.”

The house is also a foster home for the East Coast Asian Dog Rescue, which rescues dogs of Asian breeds such as Pekingese, pugs and Shih Tzus.

Williams, who wants to become a veterinarian either for small animals or marine animals, urged folks to clear out their closets for a good cause.

“They might want to do fall cleaning and get rid of all those old summer shoes they can no longer fit into,” she said.

Referencing what seems to have become a popular pursuit involving old shoes among some young people, Gurwell said, “Instead of throwing them up on the power lines, give them to the dogs.”

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