During yesterday’s dedication of a puppy playroom at PAWS animal shelter in Norwalk, the Wilton-based pet food company Blue Buffalo made a generous donation that will help the non-profit animal relief organization beyond its wildest dreams.
They were inspired to pledge pet food for life to the agency, moved by the selfless gesture of 11-year-old Wilton girl Anna Getner, who after completing the 821-day long treatment regimen battling leukemia, dedicated her Make-a-Wish wish to creating a puppy playroom. The Middlebrook 6th grader’s wish-come-true was something to help someone else instead of herself.
Because of her, thousands of animals will be helped for years to come. Rather than ask for something for herself, Anna instead chose the gift of kindness, and told Make-A-Wish that she wanted to make a difference for rescue animals at a local dog shelter.
“I want to make a puppy playroom at a local dog shelter.”
Thursday afternoon, Feb. 18, wish kid Anna got a thrill when her wish was granted, and “Anna’s Dog Park,” a special room where dogs at the shelter can play and meet their forever families, was opened and dedicated.
Among the several local businesses and groups that helped make the room a reality, one in particular, Wilton-based pet food company Blue Buffalo, helped make Anna’s Dog Park happen.
Not only did the company help fund the project but they were so inspired by Anna that Blue Buffalo decided to make another incredibly generous gift, making the announcement during the event that they would donate food to PAWS for life, a mission-changing contribution for the non-profit shelter that would help save thousands of dollars and man-hours.
“It was a simple decision, when you’ve got a young girl like this, going through what she’s going through. If she can have any wish in the world, and for her to say, ‘I’d like to provide a better home for dogs and cats and animals, it was a no brainer for us to jump on board and participate,” said Dave Petrie, president of the Blue Buffalo Foundation.
Blue Buffalo is committed to helping local organizations, and has sponsored many in Wilton and in surrounding communities.
“We’ve been in Wilton since 2003 when we started the company. It’s always important to local places like these shelters, they are in our backyard and we enjoy supporting the local community as much as possible,” Petrie added.
It was clear just how meaningful Anna’s wish was when Georganne Stohr from PAWS became emotional telling the crowd, “Something like this is beyond our expectations.”
Seeing the puppy play room for the first time, Anna, surrounded by her closest friends, looked around wide-eyed. “Oh my god, it’s amazing!” they marveled.
Her mom, Heather Schiaroli, marveled as well at what her daughter had inspired.
“It’s really overwhelming. It means so much to Anna and to see it come to life is great, it makes her so happy.”
Knowing that Anna will impact the lives of so many people and puppies for years to come makes everyone else awed and happy too.