Little girl, massive heart

By Jarryd Barca

A St Mary’s Primary School student has taken matters into her own hands by trying to assist with the current drought crisis.

We’ve heard about the stories of farmers struggling with their livestock and the lack of rain hindering crop growth, and given the financial implications of these matters, what is being done to help their working dogs? 

With the theme of ‘feed the farm dogs’, local Corowa girl Ell-Rose Clinch has been on a recent mission to ensure every man’s best friend gets treated while their owners are in a tense struggle. 

The 11-year-old has been collecting several cans of dog food and has urged locals to do the same, with several local businesses jumping on board and offering drop-off points for those wishing to donate.  

“On the news they talk about the farmers’ sheep, horses and cows … I said to grandma and pa ‘what about the dogs?’” Elly-Rose told The Free Press. 

Elly-Rose’s grandmother Vicky Clinch added: “It’s really great and something we’re very proud of. It’s not just cans of dog food that the farmers will appreciate as we’re writing names of people who donated on the cans because it shows people who care.”

The Year 4 student sat out the back of Corowa Supa IGA for two hours on Saturday, September 8 urging locals to add a can of dog food to their shopping list, with many giving her a well-earned pat on the back. 

Pets Domain, who Vicky said have been “fantastic to us”,  have made significant contributions by adding dry food to the collection of donated items, as well as St Mary’s. 

Many other organisations such as the Corowa RSL and Corowa Golf Club have also come on board with donations, while IGA put together a display on Monday to encourage locals to continue to buy a can of dog food. 

The aim is for the collection of dog food to be driven up to Drought Angels in Queensland. One lovely gentleman, Ian Avage, agreed to the task last week and applauded Ell-Rose’s efforts by agreeing to match what gets donated one-for-one.  

Currently nearly 300 cans will be donated, and Vicky said there is still two more weeks for people to lend a hand.

“The two extra weeks gives us a chance to donate more,” she said. “People have been really good, the community help here is great. We’ve heard stories of farmers up north needing to surrender their dogs because they can’t feed them which is really sad.

“I’ve also got a grandson in Victoria, Riley, who is doing the same thing, raising dog food for Elly-Rose.

“Hopefully this all catches on and people will start to do the same.”

A lot of Corowa retailers have also been willing to contribute to the cause. Vicky and Elly-Rose spent all of Saturday walking along the street to retail stores putting forward their case, generously managing to collect another 50 cans.

Vicky said she has been overwhelmed by the amount of community support.

“The cart got so heavy one of the wheels fell off! It was burning rubber in the end.” she said. 

The efforts made by Elly-Rose, and particularly the ability to think outside of the box and help the farmers in ways no one else thought of, truly make the saying ‘not all heroes wear capes’ an accurate one. 

Anyone wishing to join in and buy a can of dog food can make their donations at the Federation Council, Corowa Supa IGA or the Corowa Golf Club.