Interested in Kaydee’s stickers?

For more information, visit www.OregonPaws.blog.

For Kaydee Crawford, 9, an idyllic Central Oregon summer — filled with gymnastic classes and playing with her family’s two dogs — wasn’t enough. She had space to fill in her afternoons, and she decided to do something to make a small impact on the world.

“I’ve always loved animals. When I was younger, I wished I could adopt all those that didn’t have homes,” she said recently, making a large hugging gesture. “I didn’t want to just sit in my room crying, thinking I can’t do anything to help.”

Second to turning her family’s home into an animal sanctuary, Kaydee, who is an incoming fourth-grader at Pine Ridge Elementary School, thought she could help local animal shelters. After a lackluster attempt at selling her stuffed animals with the intention of donating the proceeds, Kaydee had a vision: Make durable stickers that feature the Oregon outline with a green canine paw print in the center. Her father, Timmy Crawford, 40, helped with the logistics.

“The paw print kind of looks like an upside-down heart,” said Kaydee, shuffling through a stack of decals on her dining table.

Project Oregon Paws was born on July 27 when the Crawfords received their first sticker batch from Sticker Mule, an online decal customizer. Kaydee’s mother, Becky Crawford, promoted the eye-catching stickers on Facebook. In the first week, Kaydee received 23 orders for 50 stickers, netting $223. Fourteen orders in the subsequent week wiped out their supply, requiring them to reorder.

“Once I came home from gymnastics and I had 11 orders in three hours,” Kaydee said with a grin.

While the Oregon Paws website catalogs all sticker orders, Kaydee is responsible for their distribution. With each sticker order, Kaydee includes a card she stamps with green and blue dog paws. Inside, she prints a personalized message that reads:

“Thank you for saving the animals,” which she signs: “Kaydee Crawford.”

The fourth-grader has mailed stickers throughout the state and to California, Washington and Alaska.

The Oregon Paw design is a riff on the ubiquitous sticker that features the state outline with a green heart in the middle. Her father, a fly-fisherman, had recently remixed the logo by designing and selling his own trout-themed stickers and trucker hats. Wholesale stickers cost between 40 and 78 cents. To handle orders, Timmy, who is a java script “wrangler” at Automattic, the web development company that created WordPress, designed the website for Oregon Paws. It features a running tally of both stickers sold and net money raised. The project’s transparency is important, said Timmy, who wanted to demonstrate to Kaydee how costs affect gains.

“A big part of (Oregon Paws) is showing her the business side,” he said.

In just three weeks, Kaydee has sold more than 100 stickers for $5 each, netting more than $450. She’s already dropped off $102 worth of supplies to the Humane Society of the Ochocos, which posts a wish list on its Facebook page. Shelter manager Amanda Drake said she loves Oregon Paws.

“It’s super creative of (Kaydee). It’s not something that a lot of young kids come up with,” Drake said, adding that about four youth groups have donated supplies to the shelter this summer. Kaydee, for her relative autonomy, stands out. Drake encourages others to consider following Kaydee’s lead.

“There’s always volunteer opportunities here. It doesn’t matter how young you are,” Drake said. “Kids get to spend time with homeless animals … it gives them the encouragement to help us make a difference. And giving love and affection to animals has therapeutic value.”

The Crawfords are fond of the Humane Society of the Ochocos, a no-kill shelter, because that’s where they adopted their second dog, Kipper, a Jack Russell terrier. Kaydee was introduced to the donation process by her Girl Scout troop, which gave cookie proceeds to the Humane Society of Central Oregon. Kaydee intends to spread her philanthropy to the HSCO and other nonprofit shelters because she knows they can use all the help they can get.

“It felt good (to make the donation),” said Kaydee, who afterward held a kitten that “climbed all over me.”

Timmy said he admires his daughter’s altruism.

“There’s so much negativity in the world,” he said. “Kaydee makes me proud.”

The responsibility of managing the nonprofit sticker business demands about an hour of her time each week this summer, which she otherwise punctuates with jumping on her backyard trampoline, playing with her dogs and attending gymnastic and Girl Scout functions.

“When you do the same things every single day, it can get boring,” Kaydee said.

While Kaydee doesn’t know what she’d like to be when she grows up, she suspects she’d like to work with animals. Until then, she’s interested in volunteering at one of Central Oregon’s four animal shelters, which also include Brightside Animal Center in Redmond and Three Rivers Humane Society in Madras. She’s well aware that volunteer work includes lots of cleaning up and dog walking.

While her friends at Pine Ridge Elementary have yet to hear about her project, Kaydee said she has impressed her gymnastic friends with her philanthropy.

As for future stickers, Kaydee and her dad are considering satisfying requests for stickers that feature feline paws. Also, Kaydee suggested they make an Oregon sticker with the poop emoji in the middle — proceeds could benefit the Bend sewer system. It’s a running joke between Kaydee and her father.

Ultimately, Kaydee said the Oregon Paws project was a good way to help local animals, and to show that you don’t have to be Hercules to make the world a better place.

“Every little step helps. Walking a neighbor’s dog or picking up trash can help the Earth,” Kaydee said. “It’s not as hard as you think.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7816, pmadsen@bendbulletin.com

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