North Neff, 11, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a home-schooled fifth-grader, has raised money and managed collection efforts that have provided more than $5,000 worth of food, vaccines and other essential items for shelter animals at a local Humane Society shelter, primarily by making and selling thousands of decorated dog bones. When he was 5 years old, North accompanied his family on a visit to the shelter. “I noticed that there were so many animals and I wanted to do something to help them,” he said. He also noticed hand-dipped dog bones on the counter for sale, and upon learning that they were made by volunteers to support the shelter, he decided that he could do that, too.
With his family’s support, North made and decorated his own hand-dipped dog bones for each dog in the shelter and delivered them in mid-February along with valentines. His treats were so well-received that he decided to make his dog bones every month and decorate them to reflect the season, in an effort to raise money for the Humane Society. He recruited family members, friends and fellow 4-Hers to help make the bones, and then to help collect items on the Humane Society’s wish list. The animal shelter now conducts an annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser as a result of North’s initial contribution. “It is always an amazing feeling to know that something I made is making the animals and the people who love them so happy,” said North.