By Karli Wallace
Costa Freshman Charlee Wickemeyer volunteers at local animal shelters and hospitals and advocates on her Instagram account, @shelter_the_pets, which raises awareness for pet cruelty.
Wickemeyer is the founder of Mira Costa’s Animal Shelter Club, which, according to Wickemeyer, specifically advertises to help rescue and shelter pets from the Carson Animal Shelter find homes. Wickemeyer’s goal is to help the pets at the shelter find homes before they are euthanized, as Carson Animal Shelter is a kill shelter.
“The amount of passion, time, and energy the Animal Shelter club gives helps to protect and stop cruelty is amazing.” Wickemeyer said. “Every weekend we visit the Carson Animal Shelter, which is one of the highest kill shelters. There, we feed, pet, groom, and nurture the dogs and cats that need forever homes while expanding our club and marketing on multiple social media networks.”
According to Wickemeyer, she’d known since she was four years old that victimizing animals was wrong. Wickemeyer has been working with The Carson Animal Shelter, ASPCA, and North Animal Shelter since this young age, and also volunteers her time at The Manhattan Beach Animal Hospital.
“In my eyes and mindset, I feel that we are all animals, no matter our species or placement on the food chain.” Wickemeyer said. “We all have a heart, a family, friends, brothers, sisters, and we are all living things on this Earth, and because of the idea that, we all should be treated equally. To be passionate about animals is the same as being passionate about ourselves and every living thing in this earth, we are all the same.”
The Animal Shelter Club, run by Wickemeyer, visits the Carson Animal Shelter every Sunday. There, they feed, pet, groom, and nurture the dogs and cats that need home. It also benefits the club’s expansion, and marketing on multiple social media platforms, Wickemeyer said. The goal of the club is to continue to educate and protect the animals in Los Angeles, Wickemeyer said. She also said that they hope to continue the club and help as many dogs and cats not only at the Carson Animal Shelter, but around the world.
“It doesn’t take much to become inspired,” said Wickemeyer. “Just by hearing a song, watching a documentary or even visiting the shelter every Sunday, it inspires me to continue helping these animals and speak for those who can’t.”
Wickemeyer attended the Humane Society of the United States Gala on April 29th, 2017. She was recognized because of her work with her club and self-created Instagram, @shelter_ the_pets, to help the pets at the Carson Animal Shelter. Wickemeyer attended the Gala with celebrities along the likes of Noah Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Jane Lynch, and Paul Wesley
“When I was personally invited to the Humane Society of the United States Gala, I was truly overjoyed!” Wickemeyer said. “By attending the Gala, I was able to represent the club and meet as many people as I could to bring more awareness not only to the club, but to the animals in need at shelters. From this event, it not only encouraged me to be a better person, but to be a true animal activist and environmentalist.”
Wickemeyer said she plans on continuing the club throughout her senior year, and to expand awareness for shelter pets. She hopes that she will be able to continue her passion for pets and justifying their importance in this world long after she graduated from Mira Costa, she said. Though she has other passions, like water polo and art, Wickemeyer said that advocating animal rights is her top priority besides her academics.
“Peace, love, and joy comes from not what our heart says but it comes from everything we do,” Wickemeyer said. “I cannot stress enough how important and how much more reasonable it is to adopt instead of buy from a breeder. Every year 6-8 million dogs and cats are euthanised. The world is full do decisions, but these decisions are only made by us. Whether it’s picking up a piece of trash, or adopting a shelter pet these decisions shape the world we live in. It’s the world everyone lives in.”