10-year-old commits to helping build new Dearborn Animal Shelter

Photo courtesy of the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter. Zoe Acker, with her father, Mike Acker, and pup, Rigby, at Mutt Strut May 9.

Photo courtesy of the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter. Zoe Acker, with her father, Mike Acker, and pup, Rigby, at Mutt Strut May 9.

DEARBORN — The Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter will host a Community Breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. June 10 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.

Dubbed the Raise the Woof Community Breakfast, it is an open invitation to the public to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Friends’ proposed new Animal Adoption & Education Center and become involved in this essential community-wide project.

One of the organization’s youngest supporters is 10-year-old Zoe Acker, who been raising money for the homeless animals at the Dearborn shelter since she was 5 years old.

Her fundraising methods? Lemonade stands, routing her birthday gifts, and even “selling” some of her father Mike’s time as an electrician.

“They help a lot of dogs and I want to do the same,” Zoe said. “Every dollar can help a dog feel better.”

“I know it’s a Mom thing to say,” her mother, Beth Vessels said, “but I am truly so proud of her. She inspires all of us with her determination.”

Zoe recently raised more than $2,000 for the FFDAS’s annual Mutt Strut & Pet Expo, coming in second place for the overall individual pledge-getter. Money raised at the Mutt Strut help with ongoing shelter operations.

Now Zoe is turning her time and talents to raise donations for the capital campaign to “build a home with heart.” “The animals and humans deserve a new shelter,” she said.

In her newest endeavor to help, Zoe is the youngest table captain registered for the Raise the Woof breakfast, a role that includes hosting a table at the event and inviting prospective donors to attend. She plans to invite her school principal, her dentist, and her pediatrician to join her and take an active role in her philanthropy.

The Dearborn Animal Shelter is seeking other community members to become table captains as well, even if this is their first venture into fundraising.

“The fact that a 10-year-old is willing to be a table captain is amazing,” said Kelle Sisung, Friends development director. “Most adults are somewhat hesitant. Zoe is fearless and shows all of us that we can do it too.”

The breakfast is an event that tells the story of the journey to build a new Animal Adoption & Education Center. Guests will hear testimonials from some of the adopters, volunteers and families who have been involved with the FFDAS since its inception in 1993. They will also learn how this community project will positively benefit both two- and four-legged friends throughout southeast Michigan.

Some of the projected features of the new facility are:
• A healthy, soothing, low-stress home for animals in the shelter.
• Significantly improve the experience for adopters, volunteers, and all community visitors.
• Employ sustainable ecological design (“green building”) and innovative housing, equipment, and practices.
• Provide the opportunity for robust community involvement, education, and enrichment.
• Be conveniently located to fully integrate with other public services (Dearborn Administrative Campus on Michigan Avenue; Amtrak site).
• Create a best-in-class work environment for staff, volunteers, and visiting veterinarians.
• Growing from 4,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet.
There is no cost to attend the event. Table captains and attendees are encouraged to register by June 5. To ensure a seat online, go to www.DearbornAnimals.org or by calling the shelter 313-943-2697.
The Dearborn Animal Shelter, 2661 Greenfield Road, is operated by the FFDAS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, call 313-943-2697, go to www.dearbornanimals.org, or follow on Facebook (www.facebook.com/DearbornAnimals) and  Twitter (https://twitter.com/FFDAS).