Woodford County students use art to help animals find their forever home

The project has taught more than art skills - empathy as well

WOODFORD COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Students in Woodford County are using their creativity for a good cause – helping animals find a forever home.

Southside Elementary art teacher Leah McAllister said after a year of lockdown, she knew she needed to do something to let her students tap into their creativity, while also helping their community. She thought what better way than to have them draw the animals at Woodford Humane Society.

Tuesday’s adoptable pet was Bongo.

“It’s just so much fun because it has evolved and grown into so much more than I ever expected,” McAllister said.

Woodford Humane Society Outreach Director Shelby Slone said since the project started in August, nearly half of the animals she’s sent to the school have been adopted, and the new owners are always pleasantly surprised.

“They’re already so excited to be adopting and taking home a new member of their family, but this is just something they can take home with them and really remember this moment,” Slone said

“What I like is the lite descriptions that they have about the animals,” fifth grader Violet Long said.

She said the ability to customize the drawing based on the animal’s personality is what makes the project even more special.

“I did a cat named Nacho, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, he looks like a Dorito because his head was kinda pointy and he was orange, so I thought to myself, ‘what if I put it in a Dorito bag and call it nacho cheese,” Long recalled about one of her drawings.

McAllister is proud, but not only because her students are becoming better artists.”

“Because I do think that empathy is so important to instill in children, and I definitely think this has been a project that has done that,” McAllister said.

It’s definitely a trait instilled in Long after having grown up with tons of animals herself.

“It’s just important to me for them to live in a home like ours do,” Long said.

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