A senior dog has been waiting nearly a year to be adopted from the Coquitlam Animal Shelter.
Will a child's plea make the difference?
Gemma, 11, has had more publicity than many animals as shelter workers try to find a forever home for the delightful dog who has spent almost 300 days at the shelter on Mariner Way.
Her charming face has been posted on Facebook; a Vancouver media outlet wrote about her plight and even Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart had photos of himself taken with Gemma, who is described as lovable but needs a home without children or other pets.
"Come on, Coquitlam, somebody has to know someone who would be perfect for Gemma," wrote Stewart.
But maybe a bigger community effort is needed to ensure 33 animals in the care of the Coquitlam Animal Shelter find homes — including Gemma.
To get the ball rolling on Tri-City animal adoptions — and to improve student writing skills — a Grade 2/3 teacher at Seaview Elementary school encouraged her students to write letters to potential adopters of bunnies, dogs, cats and birds to describe the benefits of ownership.
Sheri Evans said her eldest daughter, who works at the shelter, dropped by her Port Moody class with a rabbit.
So many animals need adopting at Coquitlam Animal Shelter
She talked about how a shelter works and that inspired the students to help with adoptions.
"Right now we are learning about persuasive writing so each child chose an animal from the shelter and wrote a letter to potential adopters from the point of view of the animal. They brainstormed reasons they (the animal) should be adopted and the results were hilarious."
The letters were posted next to the cages at the animal shelter in the hopes someone would read the letter and adopt the animal.
Animal services manager Aaron Hilgerdenaar said the letters have been a hit with visitors to the shelter.
"We have had a very positive response to the write ups by the children at Seaview Community School. At this point, I am not aware of an animal being adopted due to the write up but they are definitely generating some additional community interest in our adoptable pets; last month our adoptable animals page was one of the top 10 pages viewed on the city’s website," Hilgerdenaar told The Tri-City News.
As for Gemma, she's a dog who needs a special home because she has separation anxiety, Hilgerdenaar said, and he hopes one day she finds her forever home; so far a number of people have inquired but she hasn't been adopted yet.
But that may soon change if Seaview elementary students have any say in the matter.
Elena, a Grade 3 student, took on Gemma as her special project.
She wrote in her letter how Gemma enjoys cuddling on the couch and splashing in the water.
What's more, Elena wrote, adopting Gemma would help the owner lose weight if they walked her every day.
'Will you adopt me?' student asks in her letter for Husky Gemma
"I will help you be active," she wrote, "Will you adopt me?"
The students are also keeping track of animals that are adopted, and made 525 dog treats for the animals with supplies donated by parents.
"The kids get so excited and scream every time I bring out an adoption sign.," said Evans.
For more about Gemma, visit Petfinder.
Currently, there are 33 animal at the shelter including:
Dogs - 3
Cats - 4
Rabbits - 9
Guinea pigs - 4
Birds – 8