Senior Sarah Ayers raises money and awareness for animal shelters


Puppies from the Humane Society filled the Parkway Early Childhood parking lot Saturday, Oct. 22 at 8 a.m. for Chalk the Paw.

Chalk the Paw, the vision of senior Sarah Ayers, was an art contest to fundraise for the local animal shelters. Ayers completed a simulation through Focus Youth Leadership St. Louis, in March, which inspired her to create this event.

“Even the average person can help dogs through more than just adopting.”

— Sarah Ayers

“We picked 15 dogs to keep in our shelter, five to go to a second chance, and then 10 to be euthanized because there wasn’t enough space for them,” Ayers said. “They ripped the pictures of the puppies for the full effect. At the end, they told us that they were real animals and their fate had already been decided before the simulation.”

After the simulation, Ayers sent a thank you note to the simulation presenter, which was then forwarded on to Gina Breadon, Program Manager on Purina Pet Advocacy Leaders.

Posing for a photo, puppy Coulson greets people that walk up to his booth at Chalk the Paw.

“Gina asked me to speak at Mutt-i-gree’s training. I feel like this is when Chalk the Paw gained validity.  People from other shelters began to take it seriously,” Ayers said.

Ayers asked for participants to decorate a parking spot at the Early Childhood Center.

“I secured Gateway Pet Guardians, the Humane Society and Purina Farms as vendors at the event. I advertised in the school announcements, via social media platforms and Parkway’s Peachjar,” Ayers said.

For $5 attendees received a bucket of chalk and a parking space to decorate.

“What I am most excited about is that Purina wants to add this to their Mutt-i-gree’s curriculum,” Ayers said.

The event raised $178 and all proceeds will be donated to Gateway Pet Guardians and the Humane Society.

“I’m trying to help raise awareness about adoption shelters,” Ayers said. “And how even the average person can help dogs through more than just adopting.”