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A mission to save her four-legged friends

Sofia Gigure, 7, started "Blondie's Gift for Gregory's" a fund-raiser to benefit Gregory's Gift of Hope. Here, she's pictured with Mario, one of her three cats. Photo by Jackie Grumish

Every animal needs a loving friend -- at least that's what Sofia Gigure thinks.

The Hillside Elementary first-grader loves animals so much that she's started "Blondie's Gift for Gregory's," a fund-raiser to help fund Gregory's Gift of Hope.

The 7-year-old will be selling small boxes of candy on Saturday during Gregory's adoption day at Farm and Home.

Gigure decided to start the fund-raiser after volunteering at Gregory's and seeing the need for supplies. She's already raised $17.

"It's so they can buy dog beds and cat beds and food," she said.

Gigure has been volunteering at Gregory's since December and said it's something she really looks forward to.

"I usually play with the cats," she said. "Sometimes I do litter boxes, but usually my mom does that."

One job that is almost exclusively hers is brushing Casey.

Casey, a 13-year-old domestic long hair cat, isn't good with people, said Karen Gigure, Sofia's mom. But when Sofia arrives, she can sit with him for hours and brush him, she said.

"Casey is my favorite cat at Gregory's," Sofia said. "He's actually a very nice cat."

Sofia does so well with the cats that the Gigure family adopted Louie.

Louie was pushed out in the middle of winter to fend for himself after being an indoor cat, Karen said. When he was found, he was starving and dehydrated.

While Louie is still very shy, it's amazing how his attitude has changed over the weeks, Karen said.

Each cat holds a special place in Sofia's heart, but Louie is quickly becoming her favorite, she said.

Mario, another of the Gigure's cats, is the most cuddly, Sofia said. Often she'll wake to Mario snuggling with her in bed.

"I just wake up and he's on my bed," she said with a laugh. "I don't even know how he got up there."

Sofia's "Blondie's Gifts for Gregory's" is intended to provide additional funding for the organization, which relies solely through private donations.

"She's very dedicated," Karen said about Sofia's fund-raising project. "She's on a mission."

Sofia said she hopes to raise $10,000, but doesn't have a time limit set to her goal.

"It's on-going," Karen said. "She's committed."

Sofia will be at Farm and Home Saturday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. She welcomes anyone to stop by.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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