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Program provides animals with Christmas
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A Riverview Middle School student is working hard in the community to make sure even homeless animals have a fulfilling Christmas.

Christmas for Critters is in its fourth year. It was started by eighth-grader Shannon Porter when she was 11 years old.

The excitement is growing every year, Porter said of the community involvement. Weve signed up 13 businesses and are adding more everyday.

Christmas for Critters has donation boxes set up at various areas throughout the community. People are asked to consider donating items such as pet food, treats, animal beds, litter boxes and more. All items are collected and given to the Dawson County Humane Society.

This year, Porter said donation jars are also being placed with the donation boxes in case someone would rather donate spare change or cash.

Also new this year, Porter is seeking out more community involvement. People who are interested in participating with Christmas for Critters are asked to contact Porter. Shes also promoting the organizations Facebook page with Christmas contest. Send in a picture of your furry friends in a Christmas setting with their name, Porter said. The winner will win a $25 Walmart gift card, a Honey-Baked ham gift certificate and their furry friends on the cover of our Facebook page.

Porter came up with Christmas for Critters one day roughly four years ago riding in the car with her mother, Cindy Lord. I was thinking about the charities for homeless people but there are none for homeless animals. And with the encouragement from her mother, Christmas for Critters was launched. Lord said she and Porter feel blessed knowing animals at the shelter will have food for awhile. Its a blessing to be able to do it. Its priceless, Lord said.

Businesses that are participating this year so far are: TKO Cheer Gym, Ingles, Kroger, City Liquor, Annis Chiropractic, AML Printing Services, 1440 Athletic Club, Premium Package Outlet, Friends Sports Grill, Dawsonville Vet, Bank of the Ozarks, Chocolate Moose Interiors, Freds Beds and All Animals Vet Hospital. For a complete list of items requested for donation visit or