From a flock of adorable dogs and cats, students at Port Chester Middle School crowned Pipi – a rat terrier, Pomeranian, miniature pincher and pitbull mix – as the cutest pet.
During December, cheerful students voted in the “Cutest Pet Contest,” which consisted of 34 dogs and cats owned by PCMS staff members. Each child donated $1 to cast a vote – and raised over $600, which was given to Pet Rescue, a pet adoption service in Harrison. The winner, Pipi, is owned by physical education teacher Melissa Piccola.
As a surprise, on Dec. 22, the PCMS auditorium was visited by a handful of adorable furry friends - puppies to adult dogs. The students were bright with excitement, kneeling down to cuddle with them. Others giggled, overjoyed to pet and feed them treats. While some of the dogs belonged to Port Chester staff members, most were available to adopt from Pet Rescue.
The initiative was spearheaded by the PCMS physical education staff from the desire to give back to the local community. Mr. Michael Bonanno had never owned a dog until two years ago when he adopted his Norwich terrier.
“The children saw how important the lives of pets are,” he said. “My dog changed my life. In class, we talk about stress management and how dogs can help with relaxation. This event is also about giving back to others.”
The money raised was donated to Pet Rescue to help increase awareness for animal adoptions. In addition, students and staff also donated pet food, blankets, beds and toys to help the animals currently at the organization.
PCMS Principal Patrick Swift was proud of his students for their willingness to donate, praising their kind-heartedness and saying that the children always share with the community at any opportunity. Pet Rescue's Judith Roth attended the event and was also grateful for PCMS' caring nature.
“We are so overwhelmed by the students’ generosity,” she said. “Through the school’s support, we are able to save dogs and give them a home.”