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Carrie Underwood's Foundation Helps Fund Checotah Animal Shelter

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Carrie Underwood [File AP photo] Carrie Underwood [File AP photo]
Kate Paris, a volunteer, and Carol Underwood, Carrie's mother. Kate Paris, a volunteer, and Carol Underwood, Carrie's mother.
A look inside the new animal shelter. A look inside the new animal shelter.
Some of the dogs up for adoption. Some of the dogs up for adoption.

Rick Wells, News On 6

CHECOTAH, Oklahoma --Who hasn't heard of Carrie Underwood from Checotah? She's more successful than she probably ever dreamed she could be.

She established a foundation a couple of years ago that helped purchase musical instruments for her old high school in Checotah.

Now, through that foundation, the Checotah Animal Town and School Foundation, she's reached out again. Checotah has a brand new animal shelter.

"It funded the building here and before we had the building she was funding our spaying and neutering," Carol Underwood, Carrie's mom said.

Carol volunteers at the shelter a few days a week, but the engine that makes the Checotah shelter go is a full time, seven-day a week volunteer, Kate Paris.  Paris is kind of a serial dog rescuer; she's been at it a long time.

"I been rescuing dogs since the third grade," she said. "I brought one home on the school bus, I got a bunch of napkins from the bathroom and wrapped it up so the bus driver wouldn't see it, and took it home."

She's devoted to these animals. She said there's a home, somewhere, for each one, she just has to find it. Her reputation as a finder of homes for dogs is almost legendary; she gets calls from all over.

"From McAlester to Sapulpa and Sand Springs, I've helped. You name it I've helped 'em," she said.

She's got some projects at the Checotah Animal Shelter. One is named Casper, he's like a circus performer. Turner and Hooch are wire-haired terrier pups. Another, named Bonnie, has been at the shelter for awhile. She's like the staff cheerleader.

"The city does provide us with an operating budget for our shelter," Carol Underwood said.

The city provides utilities and an amount to buy food for the animals. Carrie's Checotah Animal Town and School foundation pays for the rest, which means adoptions from the Checotah shelter are free.

So even though she not in Checotah anymore, all those hits are making lives better in her Oklahoma hometown.

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