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Young businesswoman uses fun painting event to raise funds for local cat shelter

MADAWASKA, Maine — Budding entrepreneur and animal lover Brooke Levesque raised $170 at a recent “Paint Date” event to benefit the Fort Kent-based PAWS Animal Welfare Society’s cat shelter.

Brooke Levesque of Madawaska nuzzles one of the cats at Fort Kent’s PAWS Animal Welfare Society, Inc. shelter. The youngster recently raised nearly $170 for the shelter with a “Paint Date” event in Madawaska. (Contributed)

The fundraiser, organized by Levesque, in cooperation with artist Micheline Clavette, of Face Painting by Mimi, took place at Big Rick’s Burgers & Wings in Madawaska on Jan. 27.

Nearly 20 people came to create their own whimsical cat masterpiece while supporting a good cause. People paid a “sitting fee” of $40 to take part. Many also donated cat food, toys and other supplies the shelter uses, for which they received $5 off the sitting fee.

“With such a great turnout we decided that we will be doing another one this fall,” Brooke’s mother Brenda said Friday.

The 9-year-old gained notoriety when she started her Happy Tails Bakery in 2016, inspired by the response she received when she shared some of the treats she made for her own dog. Her philanthropy started when she asked her friends to bring cat food and shelter supplies to one of her birthday parties in lieu of gifts.

Since then, she has kept up the pet treat business, and her display at last year’s Top O’ Maine Trade Show in Madawaska earned her first place and a free booth at this year’s show.

Levesque’s mother said when her daughter grows up she wants to be a veterinarian, animal rescuer, kennel worker, groomer or “all of the above.”

The profits from Levesque’s business venture are being put toward her future education costs, her mother said.

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