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24 hours in Lawrence

Animal haven

May 22, 2007

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Jackson Rogers, 4, spends time with Wookiee, a border collie awaiting adoption at the Lawrence Humane Society. Jackson and his mother, Clare Doveton, visit the shelter about once a week to volunteer and interact with the animals.

Jackson Rogers, 4, spends time with Wookiee, a border collie awaiting adoption at the Lawrence Humane Society. Jackson and his mother, Clare Doveton, visit the shelter about once a week to volunteer and interact with the animals.

Clare Doveton describes the best part of her day.

Humane society volunteer Clare Doveton describes the best part of her day.

Dogs at the Lawrence Humane Society erupt into a barking cacophony of pick-me pandemonium as the first volunteers of the day make their way among the kennels at 11:40 a.m. The floor is still damp from morning cleanup.

Clare Doveton and her son, Jackson Rogers, 4, visit a 2-year-old border collie mix. Jackson first called the black-and-white stray Gary, but he's since deemed him Wookiee.

Clare, 31, volunteers about once a month but has visited a lot in the last several days. She hopes the Humane Society will let them adopt Wookiee.

"We've been wanting a dog for a long time," she said. "I think Jackson's old enough now, and I work from home. It'll be a good environment."

The Humane Society has raised $290,000 in a $525,000 campaign to pay for repairs and a 5,000-square-foot shelter expansion, which will provide more dog runs, better ventilation and other amenities. The most recent fundraiser, the May 12 Mutt 'n Strutt, raised $22,000, said Director Midge Grinstead, and it's volunteers who make that success possible.

"When you look at what all they do - all the exercising, socializing and grooming of our animals, plus fundraising - they're our backbone," she says.

Clare and Jackson would like to teach Wookiee how to fetch. Wookiee's take on the game is to catch the rubber spider toy, then run pell-mell in the opposite direction.

"It feels great to be out with the dogs on a day like this," Clare says, shading her eyes from the sunshine. "This is a good place to be."

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