A Passion for Paws: 11-year-old Kathryn resident using newsletter to held animals in need

Bethany Reiten combines her love for animals and writing in a 4-H service project, which she says has helped her learn that helping others is an important part of life.

Eleven-year-old Reiten of Kathryn, who will be entering the seventh grade at Litchville-Marion-Montpelier High School this fall, has been working on a service learning project through 4-H where she volunteers at the James River Humane Society in Jamestown. She will also be writing and creating a page for their quarterly newsletter. She will present a project on her volunteer work during Barnes County 4-H Achievement Days on July 14.

Reiten will create a page called Animal Talk in the quarterly newsletter for the James River Humane Society. The page will feature stories, facts and quotes all devoted to helping and caring for animals. The first newsletter with the Animal Talk page will be published this fall and Reiten hopes to continue the project for quite a while.

Reiten started volunteering at the humane society a year-and-a-half ago. She said she goes there about every week where she plays with the animals and cleans their cages.

“When I got there, I saw all the animals there sitting in cages, and I didn’t want to leave them there,” she said.

While there, she and her sister created educational posters for the humane society to promote spaying and neutering and other animal welfare issues. Eventually, the idea of a newsletter came to Reiten.

“I usually write stories at home, and I wanted to write stories about the humane society, so I got to thinking newspapers, which made me think of a newsletter,” Reiten said.

Reiten will write stories about her work done at the humane society. She also plans to add interesting, animal-related facts and quotes to the page.

Reiten hopes her newsletter raises awareness for animals in need, and she encourages people to donate to the shelter. She said a person can visit the humane society’s website to donate a bed or other needed items such as cleaning products. The website is http://www.jamesriverhumanesociety.org.

No stranger to the care of animals, Reiten and her family have four cats, two dogs, a hamster and a rabbit as well as various stray cats who visit their farm. When she’s not busy volunteering or in school, she enjoys writing stories and sewing. Reiten is the daughter of Bruce and Connie Reiten. They live on a farm near Kathryn.

Jennifer Barnard, president of the James River Humane Society, said she was impressed with Reiten and her volunteer work.

“She’s a younger community member already trying to get the word out about the care and safety of animals.” “She was never even asked (to volunteer), which is fantastic,” Barnard continued.

Reiten said that in 2011, the shelter took in 77 cats and 75 of them were adopted. They took in 91 dogs and 76 of them where adopted. Reiten worked at the shelter throughout the entire year.