LIVINGSTON — Aliesha Amiot, 14, is one step closer to earning the Silver Award — one of the highest awards a Girl Scout can receive — for hosting an educational event for pet owners.
She pulled together several troops — her own group, Troop 10506, of Gonzales, and Troop 10340, of Gonzales, and 10384, of Walker — to provide a joint dog wash project to aid the SPCA of Livingston.
Fifteen Girl Scouts, from ages 6 to 14, from Livingston and Ascension parishes partnered with Rhonda Scallon, the owner of Faithful Companions Pet Grooming in Livingston, to host this year’s event. Under the direction of Scallon, the girls donned aprons and enthusiastically set out to wash dogs of all sizes and breeds. They took turns as they walked, exercised, amused and pampered the pets, Scallon said.
Some of the canines were not too thrilled with having a bath but quickly relaxed with all the brushing, hugs and love they received afterward from the group of little hands spoiling them.
Aliesha also had created educational displays and distributed pamphlets on pet care, health concerns, animal rights, adoption and information on the ills of animal abuse to maximize their efforts to help animals.
“I volunteer at the shelters and see how many animals are abused, neglected and abandoned,” Aliesha said. “The SPCA works very hard to help these animals. I know they seriously need money.”
Aliesha, who has been in the Scouts since kindergarten, said that after talking with her fellow Girl Scouts, everyone was on board to assist with the project, adding that it gave all the Scouts an opportunity to be involved in a worthwhile project.
“This seemed to be the perfect project,” she said.
Brenda Shuff, Troop 10506 leader, was proud and thrilled to see her girls busily attending to their tasks.
Shuff said the project was successful last year, with several other girls who have moved to a higher level of Scouting as they got older. “Only Aliesha stuck with it and motivated these girls here today to participate,” Shuff said.
The Rastogi family, of Baton Rouge, who brought their 5-month-old black Lab puppy for socialization classes held in a field by the Faithful Companions Grooming, decided to let their puppy, Laska, be pampered.
Their father, Pallavi Rastogi, said his daughters, Keya Chandra, 7, and Anaya Chandra, 4, really enjoyed playing with the other girls and dogs, and learning about the responsibility of pet ownership.
Phoebe Perault, the events coordinator for the SPCA of Livingston, was pleased with the outcome of the girls’ efforts. Faithful Companions collected donations during the event for the SPCA, Shuff said.
“This was a great project for us,” Perault said. “It certainly was something different, and it benefited everyone here. Our shelter raised some much-needed funds, and everyone took home the message of saving animals and responsible pet ownership. It was amazing to watch everyone and the dogs tremendously enjoy themselves. This was such a happy, boisterous, fun occasion for such a good cause.”
The SPCA always needs funds and dedicated volunteers, Perault added.
To help the SPCA of Livingston, visit www.livingstonspca.com.
Editor’s note: The story was changed on Aug. 8, 2014 to correct the Troop number for Walker Scouts, add Troop 10340, of Gonzales, and to clarify that Aliesha did not host a previous fundraiser, but an educational event for pet owners, and that she has not yet received the Silver Award for Scouting. Faithful Companions collected donations for the SPCA during the event.