PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Shelly Compton was watching 10 On Your Side when she first got the itch to dedicate her time to the Portsmouth Humane Society.
Over a decade ago, she saw a tragic story about a puppy who had been thrown into traffic and rescued by the humane society. The surgeries to save the puppy’s life costed thousands of dollars. While she couldn’t afford to donate money to the cause, she saw a list of items the humane society needed on their website. She drove to the nearest Office Depot, picked the items up and arrived at the Portsmouth Humane Society ready to deliver her good deed.
Shelly says she was overjoyed to be helping out animals like the puppy she had heard about on TV, but was not greeted with the same joy when she dropped off the items. She was saddened to see a lack of enthusiasm and positivity from the humane society. She immediately called Bill Moody, Portsmouth’s Vice Mayor at the time, and said “things have got to change.”
“I just said ‘I’ve got to be the change.’ I had to do it,” said Shelly, after her experience. She wanted to turn the Portsmouth Humane Society into a positive place where people wanted to come to adopt animals and where animals could live happily until they found their forever home.
“Something about that little dog I connected with…I’m just so glad y’all brought that story to light. It really touched my heart,” said Shelly. That story lit a spark in Shelly like she has lit into so many others to want to get involved.
After she became a board member for the Portsmouth Humane Society, she made it her mission to plan a large fundraiser and raise money to help the organization. Thus, “Cause for Paws” was born.
Shelly said the event came with adversity from the city at first, but in its debut year nearly $20,000 was raised. Now, the event is reaching its monumental tenth anniversary.
The Portsmouth Humane Society has gone through many changes throughout the past decade, including moving into a new building with more space and lowering the amount of animals they had to euthanize. Part of that came from the funds raised by the event that Shelly played such a major role in creating.
“I’m just so proud of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Humane Society and the people who rally around it. It’s amazing,” said Shelly. Ten years later she is filled with pride at the success of Cause for Paws and the difference it has made.
She also noted how instrumental the employees and volunteers at the humane society have been at growing the organization and making it what it is today.
This year, Cause for Paws will be held on Saturday, April 21 outside of the Union Bank & Trust Pavilion in Portsmouth from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will include the traditional Cause for Paws 5K, one mile dog walk (led by Meteorologist Ashley Baylor), a performance by Team Zoom, live music, a corn hole tournament and so much more.