Young benefactor shares love of animals

Published 3:00 am Friday, July 14, 2017

Philotherianism is a mighty big word. Seven-year-old Anna Kate Leigner has probably never heard the word. But, she understands its meaning.

Philotherianism is the love of animals, the unconditional love of animals.

Anna Kate Leigner loves animals, all kinds of animals, and her love is unconditional.

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She and her family have two rescue dogs at their home in Alpharetta, Georgia. One of the dogs, they found, lonely and scared, at a gas station. The other came to them from a rescue shelter. 

Having rescue dogs in her home and knowing the love they bring to her and her family has strengthened Anna Kate’s love for animals, especially homeless animals.

Anna Kate decided she wanted to do something more for homeless animals. So, last summer she set up a booth at her home with an attached sign that read, “For Homeless Pets” and began raising money for the homeless animals at the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, which her family has supported for several years.

For three days, Anna Kate, with the help of a friend, sold cookies to her friends in the neighborhood and to their moms and dads. All the money she collected, and match money from her parents, was sent to the non-profit animal society in Utah. “About $100.”

Because Anna Kate has such a heart for animals, she had not done enough. She wanted to do more for homeless animals.

She knew about the Pike Animal Shelter because her mom, Betsy Jinright Leigner is from Troy. Anna Kate’s grandparents, Jerry and Bonnie Jinright, are also animal lovers. She heard them talking about all of the animals that are at the Pike Animal Shelter and all of the care they need until someone comes to adopt them and take them home.

This summer, once again, Anna Kate set up a booth with a “For Homeless Pets” sign on the lawn of her home. This time, she was raising money to help the homeless animals at the Pike Animal Shelter.

Not only did she have goodies to sell, she also made jewelry. While she waited for customers, she would make bracelets and necklaces by stringing beads and shells that she had washed ashore at Amelia Island.  And, customers came.

When Anna Kate closed her booth, she had raised $118.32 for the Pike Animal Shelter. Her parents, once again, matched that amount.

On Thursday, Anna Kate presented a check for $236.64 to Jacqueline Meeks, Pike Animal Shelter director, for the homeless animals at the shelter.

Anna Kate expressed hope that the kittens and puppies and cats and dogs at the shelter will soon find homes where someone loves them.

“I wish I could take them home with me,”  she said with a smile. “I love them all.”