For as long as Mary Rhorick can remember, she’s always loved animals. Her ability to tame stray felines earned her the nickname of “cat whisperer.”
In high school, Rhorick was a member of the National Honor Society and selected Texas Humane Heroes, a non-profit and no-kill animal shelter with a mission to provide animals a second chance with a forever home, as the charity with which to accrue her volunteer hours.
“Many shelters get overcrowded with animals to the point where they are forced to euthanize,” Rhorick said. “However, the thing I love the most about Texas Humane Heroes is that more than 95% of its animals come from those shelters where the animals faced the prospect of being killed simply for space. Last year alone, they were able to save over 2,804 cats and dogs from being euthanized.”
When Rhorick decided to compete for the title of Teen Miss Five Hills, she chose Texas Humane Heroes as her platform of service. Upon winning the crown, she immediately set about planning her community service project with the staff. With more than 75 hours invested into her project, Rhorick, with the help of her family, constructed a haunted house from a dilapidated building on the property, installing walls using PVC pipe and old tarps, to be open during Texas Humane Heroes’ Adoptoberfest.
“A fan favorite was the spider web tunnel. The tunnel was put together very strategically with dog fencing, chicken wire, PVC pipe, zip ties, spider webbing, and other various decorations,” Rhorick said. “The twists and turns were the hardest elements of the tunnel since I wanted it to be secure and safe for all that entered.”
Rhorick said that while events like Adoptoberfest are great tools to introduce prospective owners to their pets, it isn’t all that she wants to accomplish. “I want to educate people on what a pet can offer a family. I don’t think of a dog or cat as something that a family should just get because ‘it feels like the right thing to do.’ I want people to adopt because they want to extend their family to include an animal that deserves just as much love as they do,” Rhorick said. “Having a pet is a responsibility and this responsibility is to take care of them when they get old, sick, or develop disabilities.”
Rhorick is currently attending the University of North Texas where she is a freshman. In high school, she was an honor roll student, played soccer and sang in the choir. Rhorick will crown the new Teen Miss Five Hills at the 7th Annual Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant on March 21 at the Copperas Cove Civic Center.