From saving strays to a space camp

From saving strays to a space camp

Dean Morris was inspired to help animals after rescuing Hooch. Photograph — Matt Devlin.
Dean Morris was inspired to help animals after rescuing Hooch. Photograph — Matt Devlin.

Saving animals and training to be an astronaut are all part of a normal day for Thornlie resident Dean Morris.

The 12-year-old received a full scholarship to Space Camp in the United States last week following his work raising awareness and funds for animals left in pounds and shelters.

Dean said he started his organisation Give Our Strays a Chance as a 10-year-old after adopting his dog Hooch.

“When I adopted Hooch I saw he was staying in a horrible pound and I saw the cage, the brick walls and how cold it was inside,” he said.

“I wanted to do something so I started GOSAC.”

Every year in May Dean holds a GOSAC day in Thornlie to educate people about the conditions animals like Hooch were living in and encourages them to either adopt an animal or support a shelter through donations.

“The response so far has been great,” he said.

“It started off as a small thing that was only supposed to be a one off but people kept asking me to do it again and after that it just snowballed.”

Following GOSAC’s success, Dean was encouraged by his aviation teacher at Melville Senior High School to apply for Space Camp.

Space Camp, in Huntsville, Alabama, is designed to inspire young people to become involved in space by giving them access to hands on training.

The six-day camp is attended by young people from more than 60 countries every year.

It includes simulated walks on the moon and shuttle simulators.

Dean said after researching the camp he applied for the scholarship, using his work with GOSAC to show he was a leader.

When told last week he had received a full scholarship he was shocked. “It took a little while to take it all in,” he said.

“I always wanted to be an astronaut and going to Space Camp is like astronaut training for kids so this is like a dream come true.

“I can pick anytime throughout the year that I want to go, so we’re still looking at when.”

In the meantime, Dean is focusing his energy on the next GOSAC day on May 7 from 10am to 3pm at Forest Lakes Shopping Centre.

He said the day would feature a raffle, cats available for adoption on the spot and collecting donations for Saving Animals From Euthanasia. “We’re trying to raise as much as we can for SAFE to help these animals,” he said.

“I would like to get them into shelters or to people who can take care of them.

“It’s good for people too because animals improve people’s wellbeing and gives them company and someone to play with.”

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