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On her birthday, she requested gifts for cats

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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Ask 9-year-old Christine Tadlock what she’s reading these days and she’ll tell you matter-of-factly that it isn’t storybooks. Tadlock has a big love for animals and she’s learning all she can from non-fiction books and articles about them with the long-term plan of one day becoming a veterinarian. In the meantime, her presence is already being felt – and appreciated. The Auburn Elementary student has a big heart for animals and not just her own. As her birthday approached, instead of looking forward to a party and unwrapping presents for herself, she made a heartfelt request. Invitees were asked to bring cat food and cat toys to help the Auburn Area Animal Rescue Foundation with its efforts to provide a second chance for animals whose time has run out at local animal shelters. Christine and her party participants came through with a load of toys and food for the shelter that the rescue group’s president and co-founder said is greatly appreciated. “I’m absolutely amazed that there are children that do things so selflessly,” AARF’s Georgiana Lohman said. “Despite the things going on this world, there are parents who raise their children to think of somebody or something other than themselves.” Lohman said Christine’s birthday party experience isn’t unique. She recalled a couple of children in Applegate last year who set up a lemonade stand in their neighborhood. One girl made magnets and sold them to benefit the group, she said. Like other animal advocates, AARF is feeling the bite of hard times. People are moving off property and abandoning their pets. Others are relocating to apartments or back with family members and are unable to keep them. “With the depressed economy, the animals’ needs are greater than they have been,” Lohman said. “Donations are down and vet bills are up because of their cost increases.” On her invitation, Christine wrote at the computer: “Animals deserve the best of their life. Stop animal abuse. This party celebrates Christine and all animals.” Sitting on the sofa in the living room of her parents’ rural Auburn home with her 6-year-old Russian blue cat Gorba (Persian for “cat”), Christine presented a serious resolve well beyond her years to help unwanted and abused animals. “We’re all animals too and they’re just like us,” she said. “Having an animal abused is like us being abused.” On her property, Christine has helped rescue birds and a rabbit. Her own roster of pets includes a goldfish, a hamster and a beta fish, as well as the family’s two dogs, two chickens, another cat and the rescued rabbit named Sparky. Sparky, its whiskers singed, was rescued from a fire at only three weeks old. Christine said she has a drawer filled with play veterinary equipment that she practices with on her animals. She also has a veterinarian’s smock with her name embroidered on it. “We’re just really proud of her,” said her mother, Chantal Tadlock. “She wasn’t even thinking about wanting more gifts. In fact, she was upset when I wanted to buy her a gift.” The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. Click here for an updated list on ways you can help out in the community. Ways to Lend a Hand