Kati Prince, Congregation Shaare Emeth
Kati knew early on, at age six, that she wanted to become a veterinarian. She has always loved animals and has been devoted to them for years. For example, in lieu of all birthday gifts from her friends, Kati requested donations for abused animals and gave them to the ASPCA. So, it only made sense that Kati’s mitzvah project involve animals.
Daughter of Theresa and Larry Prince of Des Peres, Kati volunteered with Diana’s Grove, a grassroots animal rescue group located in Cabool, Mo., about three hours southwest of St. Louis. With no funding, city contracts, building or facility, Diana’s Grove relies strictly on volunteers. And, Katie is one of their best.
For the past four months, Kati has been meeting the Diana’s Grove staff at the Chesterfield PetSmart, where she spends about 8 to 15 hours per weekend. She does whatever is needed to help out, from loading the dogs in and out of their crates to pet adoptions.
Cynthia Jones, co-founder and co-owner of Diana’s Grove, said that Kati is one of the most dedicated and skilled volunteers she has had. “Kati is absolutely wonderful,” Jones said. “She is devoted to the dogs, excellent with potential adopting families, and is a great support to the other volunteers.”
Jones continued: “Kati does everything she can to learn about all the personalities of the dogs. She actually gets into the crates with the little puppies to allow them to curl up in her lap and feel safe for the day. She is a great puppy sitter.”
An example of Kati’s compassion is when she brought home Sara Lee, one of the older dogs that is a bit skittish. She did not want this animal to have to make the long trip home and back the next day for adoptions.
Katie mentioned to Jones that she would like to spend a week with her in Cabool to learn more about what really happens at a dog rescue. Jones was very open to the idea.
In addition to volunteering, Kati requested that donations be brought to her bat mitzvah. The response was so tremendous that Kati donated over $500 in supplies to Diana’s Grove wish list.
Kati, a student at Parkway South Middle School, loves the commitment of Diana’s Grove — its passion, care and determination to give every dog they foster a home.
She said, “The dogs are so well cared for and the fact that they drive six hours round trip both Saturday and Sunday speaks to their commitment.” Kati’s mother said that Kati has taken pride and ownership in the organization and has become a part of their volunteer family. She loves her weekend job with Diana’s Grove and plans to continue for as long as she can.