Love for animals motivates ambitious senior project

Love for animals motivates ambitious senior project

Brianna Andreoni, left, with her mentor Susan Joseph, owner of New England Humane Society.
Massive 'Pet Carnival' coming to town next month

NORTH SMITHFIELD - There will be dogs dressed as clowns, a pie-throwing contest, and a dunk tank holding a few brave teachers.

There will be all the usual fair-time fun, food and games, but also pet adoption services, and at the end of it all, a hot air balloon will rise above the crowds.

Welcome to the Cause For Paws Family Carnival, a project dreamed up by North Smithfield High School Senior Brianna Andreoni. The ambitious endeavor will serve as Andreoni's senior project, a graduation requirement at the school, while raising money for her favorite cause: The New England Humane Society.

The projects encourage students to explore a topic that they're passionate about and gain a little hands-on experience in their field of choice. With a chance not only to find homes for a few animals in need, but also to educate people about the ongoing issue of animal abuse, the carnival fits the bill in grand style.

"I've always had a passion for animals, ever since I was little," said Andreoni, who aims to pursue her veterinary license once she graduates. "I wanted to do an event that would help animals."

Andreoni credits her parents with instilling her love for all of nature's creatures. In addition to her pet dog - a 13-year-old Bichon Frise that goes by the name of Fluff - Andreoni has cared for a robin for the past five years.

"He broke his wing so we took him in," she said. "My family has always been into rescuing wild animals."

For those wondering what one might feed a pet robin, Andreoni recommends wet dog food.

And next month, she hopes to bring her passion for such creatures to life with a creative day outdoors.

The family event will take place on Saturday, May 2 on the grounds of North Smithfield High School, and while Andreoni is still securing vendors and sponsorships for the project, around 20 have already signed on, including Hope for Heros, Camp Phoenix, Cona Ice and Pampered Chef. Plans are already in place for festivities such as the bouncy house, a dunk tank, and backyard games, and members of the North Smithfield Police Department will be in attendance to give a canine demonstration.

Kids will enjoy the henna tattoo booth, and face painting with a twist, as they're made up to look like their favorite type of dog.

"We're trying to kind of gear it toward children and make sure they have a really good time," Andreoni said.

The high school senior has also hired a carnival company to bring in games and food vendors including tacos in a bag, and pizza, sold by the Humane Society. The festival will feature live music by Steve Malek and the Electric Flood, a rock band based in Foster, and S. Walcott a five-man Indie rock band from Wakefield.

But what makes this event truly stand out from your average fair is the 30 puppies in attendance, all dressed up and looking for good homes.

Andreoni's mentor - a required influence in all senior projects at the school - is Susan Joseph, owner of New England Humane Society, an all-breed dog rescue shelter based in Harrisville. The shelter fosters abused, abandoned, and helpless animals, funding all medical costs with no state funding or government assistance.

At the carnival, Joseph will be in charge of adoptions, while Andreoni's classmates walk around the field with new canine friends, carrying cards with all of the pet's information.

In addition to a puppy fashion show, Andreoni said the dogs may just sport some clown attire.

She says it wasn't hard to find volunteers to work with the animals.

"My entire senior class is definitely all for this," she said.

The Cause for Paws Family Carnival will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the high school at 412 Greenville Road, with all proceeds to benefit the New England Humane Society. Andreoni said she's expecting around 2,000 people to attend. Anyone interested in operating a vendor booth, volunteering, or making a donation to the project is asked to contact Andreoni at or visit the event Facebook page at .