While he'd rather adopt "all the dogs" and run his own canine rescue, 6-year-old Medford dog lover Maddox Mayne has figured out the next best thing.
Helping to ensure that difficult-to-place shelter pets get adopted, the first-grader is selling handmade bracelets and necklaces to cover adoption fees and extra expenses for older dogs or dogs with special health concerns.
He figures if he helps cover the cost of adoption, older dogs or dogs who need a little extra help will be more appealing to potential adopters.
Maddox is crafting colorful bracelets and necklaces — usually with tiny dog-house or paw-print charms included — to sell for $5 and $10 donations.
Everything he earns goes into a small jar with a smiling dog painted on one side and will be distributed, on a dog-by-dog basis, to a handful of rescues and shelters.
Maddox’s mother, Melissa Mayne of Medford, is the founder of Compassion Highway Project.
Mayne said her youngest has always helped at community feeds and took on the responsibility of helping hand out dog food and other pet supplies to help homeless people with their four-legged companions.
“He loves to help. He always helps bag up the dog food and hand it out at our feeds. He just loves dogs and wants to do anything he can do to help them,” said Mayne.
Maddox’s project, dubbed “The Woof Project,” began when he was gifted a large bin of beads for Christmas, Mayne said.
Maddox’s own home is filled with three giant-breed dogs — Alaskan malamute Nakia, giant Alaskan malamute Ogre, and great Pyrenees Penny.
“He’s just crazy about dogs,” said Mayne. “Someone brought over a tub of beads right before Christmas, and he really likes doing crafts. He saw an SPCA commercial on TV and that was it. He asked me if he could make bracelets and sell them to help doggies who needed homes.”
He’s raised almost $500 to date.
His first contribution? He’ll pay $150 in adoption expenses for a pooch named Gia. A cattle dog with some special adoption considerations — no other pets or children in the home for now — the high-energy 5-year-old has been back and forth to the Southern Oregon Humane Society for nearly a year and a half.
Ryan Johnson, Southern Oregon Humane Society operations manager, said it was touching to see someone Maddox’s age take such a strong interest in raising money to help shelter dogs.
“We see ... a lot of compassion for animals, especially from children. I think animals are a common outlet for charitable giving that kids can really connect to,” Johnson said.
Intently threading shiny blue beads onto a bendable wire Friday, the boy didn’t have much to say, except during regular breaks to fuss over his beloved Ogre, who towered over the small boy, watching him work.
“I’m selling them to pay for dogs,” Maddox said.
Maddox’s next dog project will be a medical rescue named Koda, Mayne said.
A malamute, like Ogre, Koda has special medical issues and will need a family willing to provide for his extra care. Maddox says Koda, currently living at the Miss Gabriel Foundation in Rogue River, needed expenses of about $750.
“I have to sell a lot,” said the boy.
While Maddox is not a big talker, Mayne said the boy has a way with dogs.
“I used to do dog rescue, and we would have dogs that would usually want nothing to do with most people come right up to Maddox, and he would just grab their collar and take them where they needed to go,” said Mayne.
“He’s shy, but he’s always been all about the dogs. Him doing this didn’t surprise me, but I think it’s probably a surprise for somebody so young to step up in such a big way.”
Fans of dogs — or jewelry — who would like to support Maddox and his Woof Project can order bracelets or necklaces by calling 541-646-8004 or by visiting Blackbird Shopping Center on West Main Street in Medford, which will be selling the necklaces on the boy’s behalf.
Proceeds will go to benefit Southern Oregon Humane Society, Miss Gabriel Foundation, No Pet Left Behind and Street Dogs.
Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at firstname.lastname@example.org.