Students raise money for shelter dog’s surgery

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Students in North Haven got a big thank you from a little dog Thursday morning. The kids raised almost $2,000 to pay for surgery to help a shelter dog named Meatball.

Taya Stanley doesn’t say a lot but when she heard about a dog in pain, she spoke up and her whole school listened. Thanks to all of them, little Meatball is all better.

Meatball wanted to say thank you to a room full of kids. He’s a happy dog now. But three months ago, his owner brought him to the Animal Haven shelter in sad shape.

“He was surrendering him because they could no longer take care of him and they said he had a small ear infection, and when he came to us, it wasn’t a small ear infection,” said Michelle DeRosa, Animal Haven Care Coordinator.

In fact, Meatball needed thousands of dollars in surgery to fix his ears and relieve the terrible pain. The shelter asked for help raising money and 11-year-old Taya Stanley heard about it and decided to get her whole school to stand up for Meatball.

“My heart just melted when I heard that he had a really bad disease in his ears,” said Taya Stanley, 5th Grader.

taya and meatball

“Well, I was more than happy to try to think of a way that we could help Meatball and honor Taya’s suggestion, so I brought it to our principal and I also asked Taya to brainstorm some ideas for fundraising,” said Christina Madonna, 5th Grade Teacher.

One of the fundraising idea was kids pay a fee to enter a cute pet contest. They put together posters to win. Another fundraiser was a cooking competition. Yes, it was a meatball cook-off.

In all, Clintonville Elementary School raised more than $1,800. That will pay about a quarter of Meatball’s vet bills.

“Huge help. Ridiculous amount. That was great! That’s fantastic,” said DeRosa.

Taya handed over the check at the school’s town meeting, now she’s a lady of few words…

“It makes me feel really good,” said Stanley.

It’s her actions that say a lot about her and Meatball, he has his own way of saying thank you.

Meatball is living with a foster family who plans to adopt him, so he’ll live happily ever after making Taya a “meatball hero.”

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