Teen trying to save county animals

By Keith Strange

April 25, 2014

While many county students are spending their spring break working on a tan or a high score on World of Warcraft, one county teen is using it as a chance to improve the plight of unwanted animals in the area.

Mallori Hopper, 14, has organized a pet adoption event scheduled for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Pet Sense in Mount Airy.

The event, which Hopper dubbed Fetch A Pet, will feature dogs and cats available for adoption, food, drinks, face painting and a raffle for a handcrafted basket filled with pet-friendly items.

Hopper said the idea was months in the making.

“Originally it was just a thought in my head that it would be something cool to do and I dismissed it,” she said. “Then my mother encouraged me and said she knew how I could do it. I took that little bit of encouragement and ran with it.”

From organizational work to securing a space for the event to contacting animal advocates in the county, Hopper took care of it all.

“I put together the fliers, called the local pet rescues out and invited them and pretty much took care of everything else,” she said with a shrug. “It really wasn’t that hard because I was doing it for the pets.”

At this point, Hopper said she is just waiting for Saturday.

“I’ve been planning it for several months and now I’m just waiting and waiting and getting more and more excited,” she said. “I want to make sure it’s as fun and interesting as possible.”

A self-admitted animal lover, Hopper said she isn’t involved with any one specific rescue group in the area.

“My family fosters pets for some rescue groups and my mom Lori helped me out a bit by getting me connected with the right people, but I’m not bound to one specific rescue group,” she said. “I like to help them all and that’s what Fetch A Pet is for — to raise awareness and enlighten them about the benefits of spaying and neutering.”

She said many of the animals up for adoption Saturday have had a tough time of it.

“They all have these incredible stories behind them and some of them were abandoned, but they’re all loving and looking for a home,” Hopper said.

Why spend time organizing the adoption drive?

“I do this because animals are an important part of my life,” she said. “I have several pets and they’re literally my life. I would be a different person if I didn’t have them.”

Hopper said she hopes for a career in avian veterinarian medicine.

“I want to be involved with animals as much as I can,” she said. “It’s my passion. I’d rather work with animals than sit around and watch television.

“A lot of kids my age are doing drugs and getting pregnant, and I’m sitting here like, ‘I like dogs.’”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.