16-year-old Hallie Meister is holding her 5th annual dog show in Sayreville, New Jersey, to raise money for charity.
When Meister was only 11, she was touched by a commercial for the ASPCA, and had the idea to host a local dog show to benefit the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“Once I planned it once, it seemed easy to do it again,” said Meister.
And, so she has hosted the show every year since that first one in 2008, raising more than $2376.
Her shows got the attention of sponsors like L’Oreal and Nylabone who have helped with donations.
The dogs in Meister’s show are judged on personality, grooming, and performance. Obedience isn’t a factor as it is in most dog shows.
“Usually the dogs that have performed in a show are very well behaved and listen to what owners say, as opposed to puppies that are just jumping around and want to have fun,” said Meister.
When not planning the dog show, Meister helps the community by taking her cocker spaniel, Chip, to a local elementary school where children can read to the certified therapy dog.
“He loves the children,” Meister said about Chip. “He loves being there with them.”
Meister’s work with the children has led to her dream of teaching elementary school.
Two years ago, Meister was the recipient of the Junior Hero to Animals Award by the Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey who recognized her work in hosting the dog shows.
“It’s made me understand that, no matter what, everybody can help,” Meister said about her work on the shows. “It doesn’t matter the age or the money you donate. You can still do something.”