Between 11 a.m. and noon, dogs at the Alachua County Humane Society get some quality relaxation time and a little something else — peanut butter.
For these dogs, peanut butter isn’t just a tasty snack — it’s a form of enrichment, said Sarah MacLennan, volunteer program manager for the ACHS.
“They’re in their cages all day unless they’re getting walked,” MacLennan said. “So it just provides them some sort of comfort.”
The shelter also uses the peanut butter, which is delivered inside a hollow rubber toy called a KONG, to reinforce good behavior.
But the canines go through 15 jars of the stuff each week – and Evanna Alvarez doesn’t want them to run out.
So the 10-year-old student at Glen Springs Elementary School, who started volunteering at the shelter in August, has started a donation drive to ensure these dogs get their daily treat.
“Evanna was getting pretty emotionally attached to a lot of these animals, so it also inspired me to do a little more,” said Tonya Kolnes, Evanna’s mother.
Evanna also inspired her Girl Scout troop to get involved. It is pursuing the Bronze Award, which honors the community involvement of Girl Scouts.
“We wanted to first start with the schools, but then we wanted to put it online so that whoever is online would know about it,” Evanna said.
Her efforts are paying off. Evanna’s GoFundMe page, Peanut Butter for Paws, is only $25 short of its $300 goal after 10 days.
The Publix located in the Westgate Shopping Center has also agreed to order the peanut butter in bulk with drive donations, Kolnes said.
“I was like, you know, I can’t go clear off your shelves with 300 jars of peanut butter,” Kolnes said.
Kolnes said she is also talking with a few other local grocery stores.
Evanna and her Girl Scout troop will be holding donation drives for jars of peanut butter at the Publix in Butler Plaza West on Oct. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon and at the Spring Hill Commons Publix on Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to noon.