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By Patti Shaffer
Thirty-eight-year-old Smithfield resident Michael Lawrence is a senior digital designer at Hasbro Toys and although he absolutely loves designing toys, he also loves running for exercise—and he has a true passion for pets! He and his fiancée Tammy, who bought a home in Smithfield eight years ago, have three cats, (one that was adopted from the Smithfield Animal Shelter), a plott hound dog, (adopted from a shelter in North Carolina), and two turtles and some fish.
In fact, he loves animals so much that he decided to raise money for the benefit of The Smithfield Animal Shelter. So on May 1 at 7:30 in the morning, he will hit the ground running in a full 26-mile marathon, the Providence Rhode Races Marathon¬¬— that begins and finishes in downtown Providence. Lawrence has created an online GoFundMe page where people can contribute to benefit the shelter that continues to need renovations and improved living quarters for rescued animals. Robert Salisbury, one of the Animal Control Wardens at the shelter, verifies all donated funds and transfers donations to the Shelter’s fund. The funds received will be donated 100 percent to the Smithfield Animal Shelter, Salisbury said.
“I am not a professional runner,” says Lawrence. “Although I have competed in several 5K races, I never have run a 26-mile full marathon. It requires a lot of training both physically and mentally. Training for this marathon has been rather grueling, but the payoff for helping the shelter will be worth it.”
Since adopting their cat from the Smithfield Animal Shelter 11 years ago, Lawrence visits occasionally to drop off money and food and toys.
“The shelter continues to need improvements, as well as to provide food, medical supplies, toys, ect. The shelter itself is really in need of a massive overhaul or a new shelter. A better shelter means better care for the animals. It also looks more appealing to those who visit and want to adopt—increasing the odds of more animals being adopted. It breaks my heart to think of a dog or cat in a shelter or homeless, waiting for a home,” Lawrence says.
He added, “I don’t believe in dog and cat breeders when there are so many stray animals and unwanted animals in shelters that will be euthanized if not adopted. There are so many wonderful animals. I encourage everyone to first go to your local shelter instead of a business or breeder. Stores and breeders are trying to profit from these animals and most of their dogs come from puppy mills, which will continue to run until we put a stop to them.”
“In addition,” he adds, “shelter dogs and cats are proven to be more loyal and loving pets. Most importantly you will be saving a life and getting a new best friend.”
As of April 1, $1,530 has been raised. Contributions may be made up until May 31.
To donate to the Smithfield Animal Shelter, go to: www.gofundme.com/jrnn5grw
For information on the race, go to: http://runri.us/providence-race-info.
The Smithfield Animal Shelter
Still Needs Your Help
At this time, plans for a new animal shelter or improvements to the present shelter in Smithfield are in a holding pattern until the town determines the best course of action. The shelter is too small, in poor condition and not modernized, its critics contend. It also is in dire need of major structural improvements, critics contend.
Police Chief Richard St. Sauveur said that North Providence and Johnston continue to plan for a new animal shelter on Smithfield Road in North Providence and he has inquired about Smithfield being included in that regionalized effort. Barring that, St. Sauveur will ask the Smithfield Town Council again to authorize several thousand dollars to pay for a feasibility study for a new shelter versus a repaired shelter in Smithfield.