Hermon boy’s Christmas wish to work at Bangor Humane Society
8-year old volunteering at animal shelter thanks to Santa magic
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Typically, 7 year-olds ask Santa Claus to bring them toys.
But a Hermon boy had a different wish this past Christmas.
“I had a wish for Santa that I would get a job and raise money for animals.”
In particular, Donnie Veneziano wanted to work at the Bangor Humane Society.
“Well, there are so many animals that don’t have a home that need to have a place so they don’t go hungry,” says Donnie.
Donnie’s mom warned him, Santa Claus might not be prepared for this type of wish.
“Mum says he usually just gets toys for kids, just toys,” he says, crinkling his nose a bit.
But Christmas morning, stuck in the branches of the tree was a letter to Donnie.
“It said- do you remember what it said?” Donnie asks his mom?
It said- Congratulations, you have a temporary animal care helper position with the Bangor Humane Society.” replies Jodi Veneziano.
“I was contacted by Santa Claus a few days before Christmas.”
Bangor Humane Society Executive Director Suzan Prendergast admits this was a first for the shelter.
“Honestly, I did not want to go back on his bad list so I complied pretty quickly,” says Prendergast.
In January, Donnie started his new position.
“Some of it including sweeping and mopping, not the fun task, but he did it anyway and with lots of enthusiasm,” says Chelsea Brown, Volunteer and Community Outreach Director for the Bangor Humane Society. “We also made peanut butter Kongs for the dogs, he handed out cat treats.”
“The best part was I got to socialize with all the animals,” says Donnie.
Part of the work requirement including mom chaperoning the whole time.
“Which I don’t think Donnie like too much,” says Jodi as she watches Donnie shaking his head no.
Donnie also started collecting donations for the humane society.
“Some of the teachers have put in a dollar, his grandparents, his relatives, he also put in his own money,” says Jodi.
“I just find it amazing that young of an kid is realizing how much he can do with helping animals,” says Brown.
Donnie hopes to continue working with animals when he grows up.
“Mostly I like working with poisonous snakes,” he says with a grin. “I love all animals.”
And because this junior volunteer made such an impression on both the four and two legged members of the Bangor Humane Society-
“In honor of Donnie, we are creating a new volunteer program. This gives opportunities for children 8-10 years old to volunteer for the day or long term,” says Brown.
Details about the new youth volunteer program are still be worked out.
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