Carbon County Friends of Animals now has six dog houses that can be utilized in the county.

On Monday, shelter volunteers traveled to Youth Services Agency of Pennsylvania in Jim Thorpe to pick up the dog houses that were created by seven students at the facility.

Ed Weaver, vocational coordinator at Youth Services Agency, said the projects were part of a partnership formed three years ago between Youth Services Agency and the Carbon Career & Technical Institute.

"We are trying to get vocational training for the residents," Weaver said. "There is a need for vocational training for students who will not graduate high school and will get their General Educational Development (GED) diplomas. This is a great way to reintegrate them back into the community."

The partnership between CCTI and Youth Services Agency, which was organized through the adult education program at CCTI, is led by Larry Wolford, CCTI paraprofessional in carpentry.

Wolford said it took the students between two and three days to complete each dog house.

Kimmy Mulik, vice president of CCFOA, said the houses will help Donna Crum, the county's animal cruelty officer, when she rescues a dog; and will be lent out to families who are fostering a dog for the shelter.

"The entire organization is very grateful for these dog houses," Mulik said. "If it wasn't for individuals like these boys, we (CCFOA) wouldn't be able to stay open."

She added that CCFOA and Crum will help families if they are having difficulty providing for their pet.

"We want to make sure the animal stays in the home (as long as it is possible)," she said, adding that they will provide some assistance if it is needed.

Mulik also said that high school seniors looking for a senior project, and Scouts looking for an Eagle Scout or Gold Award project, can contact the shelter for a list of projects that need to be completed and can be used to fulfill their award requirements. She said if a student calls the shelter, leave a message for her and she will return the call.

CCFOA is a nonprofit shelter, which remains in operation through fundraising events and minimal community support.

To give a monetary donation, mail it to Carbon County Friends of Animals, 900 Walnut Ave., Jim Thorpe, PA 18229. Make checks payable to Carbon County Friends of Animals.

If you cannot make monetary donations, supplies are also needed, such as: Purina cat or kitten chow, non-scoopable litter, bleach, dish and laundry detergent, chicken baby food, latex gloves, and most importantly volunteers.

Mulik said that if there are any businesses who wish to donate straw to use for bedding for the dog houses, they can contact the shelter as well. It is important to have bedding for the animal to keep warm this winter season.

Donations to help the animal cruelty officer with animal rescues, as well as the Carbon County Animal Response Team, which Crum leads, are also being accepted.

Crum said the group is always in need of pet food, blankets, towels, kitty litter, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc.

For more information on senior projects or on donating, contact CCFOA at (570) 325-9400.