Tuesday, 18 February 2014 06:20

Alana Joy Kerr

Written by Candace McGrew, Riverside County Animal Services volunteer services manager, February 17, 2011

March 24, 1995 to February 8, 2011

 

The Press-Enterprise touched on the tragic death of Alana, a sweet volunteer who donated her time at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter.

Here is an excerpt from the article that was Published: 2/9/2011 06:21 PM.

Alana, 15, a sophomore at Norte Vista High School, was killed on her way home when she was struck by a train at the Buchanan Street crossing in far west Riverside, only yards from where she lived in a mobile home park.

Alana attended Norte Vista's International Baccalaureate program, which offers a more challenging curriculum for college-bound students. She took a city bus to and from the school and was walking home from a bus stop when she died.

Alana had thought about becoming a veterinarian but lately had gravitated toward studying criminology to work in forensics, possibly as a coroner, her parents said.

alana joy kerr lrgAlana volunteered at the shelter and usually spent about 18 hours a month here, playing with cats to make them more sociable and thus, more adoptable, as well as grooming the adorable puppies.  She was well known and all the other volunteers loved her.

On Saturday, February 12th, 2011, employees for the Department of Animal Services and volunteers gathered together to create a memorial butterfly garden where Alana could be remembered forever.

Her mother, Jennifer, and father, David, and more than a dozen members of her extended family and several of her very close friends, celebrated the memorial garden.

When all members of the family arrived, we went on a short tour of the shelter.  It really gave the family a sense of satisfaction seeing how important volunteering is — and how important it was to the caring Alana.

The family and friends played with the cats, which Alana loved doing.

Once our tour concluded, our last stop was the tree ceremony. The tree was a donation, courtesy of efforts made by Fred Mallard Jr., one of our adult volunteers.

Alana’s parents, family members and friends and all of the volunteers grabbed a handful of soil and placed it around the Night Shade Tree. Each and everyone at the shelter that morning were able to physically say goodbye to this wonderful soul.

Like many of our volunteers, Alana dedicated her time to the hundreds of homeless pets that need so much love. Alana, indeed, gave them love and helped these voiceless creatures become more adoptable. She gave them a better chance at a lifelong, loving home. For brief moments in these animals’ lives, they knew what it would feel like to receive kindness.

When the last handfuls of soil were placed underneath the tree, giving it a solid, firm foundation, Alana’s mother and father and younger brother, Colin, took turns watering the tree.

They gave the thirsty tree a good start at life.

Everyone at the shelter will miss this joyful young lady. Her pleasant demeanor and kindness to the voiceless pets of society will remain forever an inspiration to all of us.

Thank you to Death Row Dogs and the “Catching the Future” fashion show participants and attendees for sponsoring the butterfly garden.

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