Teen mobilizes community to help animal shelter

Joy can come from four-legged friends, says Skylar Wood
Aug. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

Listening to Skylar Wood speak of humanity's problem, it is easy to lose grip on the reality she is only 14 years old.

Then again, it is this very type of statement that drove her to action to begin with. She is tired of injustice and mistreatment of all forms.

"There seems to be only one thing that makes you forget your torment, even if it's only temporary, and that's joy," Skylar said. "Joy can come from anything or anyone, and especially our furry four-legged friends."

Advocates in Davidson County continue to secure major victories in their efforts to reach out to the pet-loving community. This community is rallying behind Skylar, a rising sophomore at East Davidson High School, who spearheaded the county's most recent triumph. As she plans her next fundraising event for the Davidson County Animal Shelter, Skylar looks no further than her own Paws for a Cause event to find a model for success.

"We're sitting there watching the news one morning and she's getting ready for school," said her father, Charles Wood. "She said, 'Daddy, you don't ever hear anything about the Davidson County Animal Shelter. I'm going to fix that; I'm going to make them some money.' She went to school, and two weeks later, she comes in organized."

In June, she partnered with Thomasville Police Department to raise more than $1,000 and collect two large boxes full of supplies for the shelter through a fundraiser she organized at Bethel United Methodist Church. Demonstrations from Thomasville K-9 officers Zach Grove and Wesley Barber and their dogs, Edo and Hawkeye, brought a large turnout for the June 22 event.

After supporters were fed and entertained — police hid drugs on the playground and showcased their dogs tracking abilities as they raced to find them — Skylar presented a check of $1,017 to Judy Lanier, director of the Davidson County Animal Shelter.

Skylar hatched the idea to begin the fundraising project in May in memory of Frances "Teenie" Johnson, a pet lover and inspirational figure who she describes as a "third grandmother." Through her passing earlier this year, Skylar was driven to pass on her mentor's passion.

"Teenie had a passion, a flame, but it didn't extinguish when she did," Skylar said. "She passed it on to so many people."

Skylar hopes a spirit of change proves contagious. Her vision for future fundraising projects includes bringing the community of Thomasville together in attempt to weed out what she perceives is selfishness that causes people not to act on others' behalf.

"There is one thing I think we can all agree on, and that's...how selfish mankind can be," Skylar said. "Most of the time we remain so self-absorbed and so caught up in our own problems that we don't care to stop and think about that woman across the street or the man we accidentally bumped into at the grocery store. We're in a world that has been divided by opinions, morals and status. If our small town can help each other out and live in harmony, there would be less stress and more peace and happiness."

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or kennedy@tvilletimes.com.