Boy, 12, camps in garden every night for year to raise money for rescue dogs

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Ashley Owens from Hertfordshire began camping in his back garden on March 28 2021 to fundraise for UK charity Paws2Rescue, which helps dogs living in desperate conditions in Romania.

So far, the 12-year-old has raised more than £7,000 of his ambitious £30,000 goal.

And despite passing the milestone of one year, he plans to keep going until he hits his fundraising target.

Ashley, who has three family dogs, has faced freezing temperatures as low as minus 7C in the winter, and a hot and stuffy tent in the summer.

But he said that if he comes close to giving up he thinks of the stray dogs suffering on the streets of Romania.

Ashley said: “It doesn’t matter how I’m feeling at all, I still want to camp out for the dogs because they’re living in a much worse place than in my tent, so how they feel is way worse than I do.”

The 12-year-old said he would be “so happy” to reach his £30,000 target.

Ashley’s proud mum Emma added: “He started off sleeping one night out and then he just went, ‘I’m going to sleep out again’.

“And then he carried on and on and said, ‘I want to raise money for dogs’.

“What amazes me is that when he’s had his day at school and then he’s played football, he’ll come back and eat and he’s really tired but he’s like, ‘No I’m still going to sleep in the tent’.

“He just doesn’t give up. That’s what we’re really proud about how he keeps going and he’s determined to achieve this.”

The 12-year-old is sometimes joined by one of his pet dogs, while his dad Kevin kept him company during stormy weather earlier this year.

The money Ashley raises will go towards a new dog sanctuary for Paws2Rescue in Timis, west Romania.

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The charity provides food, shelter and veterinary care for unwanted dogs and cats in the country that may otherwise starve or freeze to death. Some are also rehomed to the UK.

Paws2Rescue has neutered more than 10,000 dogs and cats since it was founded in 2013 to help reduce Romania’s huge stray population.

The charity also runs an education programme in schools to teach the next generation to treat animals with compassion, and makes regular donations of clothing and food to children living in poverty in the country.

Most recently, Paws2Rescue headed to the Ukrainian border with supplies for refugees and their pets.

Support Ashley here.

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