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Local teen a hero for the shelter’s animals and staff

While many teenagers want to sit at home after school or on the weekends, one young Oxford girl has chosen to make a difference with her spare time.

Only 14 years old, Clementine Bedsworth has volunteered more hours at the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society than she can count.

“She’s an amazing, amazing volunteer … the animals respond really well to her,” OLHS director Jenn Petermann said.

Petermann said the shelter staff can count on Clementine to volunteer, especially on Saturdays and in her spare time during the school year.

Clementine will clean the kennels as well as walk and play with the dogs and cats in the facility. She also is involved with the fostering program. Bedsworth has cared for more than 20 dogs and for six kittens.

She said the kittens often require a lot of attention because they are small and have not received adequate care before coming to the shelter.

Clementine also has taken care of birds, a few piglets and one baby skunk in the past.

The shelter also has more animals that could use fostering or adoption, so Clementine and Petermann said any and all help makes a difference.

In the summer, Clementine said she comes in to help every day. During the school year she only gets to stop by after school for a couple of hours if she can. To make up for it, she volunteers as many weekends and full Saturdays as she can.

Clementine said the shelter is an important place to volunteer because there are a lot of animals to be cared for and only so many employees. It takes a mature person to volunteer and foster because you have to realize you cannot adopt them all yourself, Clementine said.

“You kind of have to know not to get too attached if don’t plan on adopting,” she said.  “It’s gotten to the point where I don’t get attached easily anymore.”

As young as Clementine is, she has the respect and admiration of the shelter’s staff as well as the admiration of the animals for the hard work and time she puts into volunteering. However, she only thinks of it as necessary work to be done.

“We need all the help we can get down here,” Clementine said.