By Kristin Fox
Although individuals have worked as advocates for the animals of Macon County for many years, an organized group has come together and joined forces to become a stronger voice for dogs and cats looking for their forever homes.
In January, Pawsitive Shelter Volunteers (PSV), a new non-profit organization, was started dedicated to the health, wellness and adoption of shelter animals.
Shelter, rescue and foster dogs and cats are regular animals that you’ve seen your neighbors and friends have. The two primary reasons they end up in the shelter or rescue is because they lost their sense of direction and someone brought them in from the street/woods or their owners had a life-changing situation and, as sad as it sounds, had to give them up.
At the first of the year, Stefanie Curland and Debby Dillon teamed up to start the nonprofit organization. Curland and her husband Jim are animal lovers who have previous experience with starting and running nonprofit organizations.
Prior to the establishment of PSV there were approximately 10 volunteers who worked with shelter animals. Dillon had coordinated the volunteer program for the past 8 years. She was and still is volunteering for about 30 hours per week walking dogs, cleaning kennels and litter boxes. In addition, Dillon purchases extra food as well as leashes and other supplies often covering the bulk of these expenses.
To make the lives of dogs and cats better while they wait for a new home, the members of PSV use their own funds and donations to provide extra food, treats, toys and extraordinary vet care when needed. Some of the volunteers have sponsored a spay or neuter to make the adoption process easier. There is not a financial obligation of the volunteers, but every donation of time and money helps.
PSV does not have an office. The organization’s volunteer services are offered primarily at the Macon County Animal Shelter. PSV volunteers work with the shelter animals on walking, socializing, simple training and providing a loving touch. In addition, volunteers also foster shelter dogs until they are adopted. The shelter and rescue volunteers walk, feed, bathe and play with the shelter dogs and cats.
PSV is actively working to recruit new volunteers The group has been trying to get the word out to the community that PSV needs dogwalkers. At present the group has a little over 20 volunteers but are always looking for more. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Debby at (941) 266-7084. PSV volunteers walk dogs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
As stated on their website www.maconanimals.com: ”If you would like to help the other local volunteers walk, play and spend time with the cats and dogs, please contact us and say hello. We love meeting new people who loves cats and dogs like us and welcome you with open arms to help us help the animals. There is no formal commitment required to volunteer, just that you give a little extra love and attention to the shelter and rescue cats and dogs of Macon County. Most of the volunteer work is completed in Franklin.”
As the need to help dogs and cats in Macon County has continued to grow it became apparent that additional resources were needed to continue to provide these services. Curland and Dillon established PSV to fill this need in the community.
PSV will be holding its first major fundraiser to help raise money to continue meeting the needs of dogs and cats in shelters and foster homes. The group will be holding a yard sale on December 10, 2022, at the Robert C. Carpenter Community Center at 1288 Georgia Road in Franklin. The group is happily accepting donations for the yard sale and of course can always use monetary donations.
The organization hopes that the community will come out to purchase gently used quality items; hot cocoa and homemade cookies will also be available. The community can also come to the fundraiser to learn more about the organization, and the challenges that are being faced within Macon County’s pet populations. One hundred percent of funds go directly to helping the animals in Macon County.
PSV’s website, www.maconanimals.com, is an excellent source that lists available pets, tips for adopting a shelter pet as well as volunteer opportunities and contact information. The website shows dogs and cats at shelters, rescues and foster locations in Macon County that are waiting for their forever home and are available for adoption.
Information of the dogs and cats include gender, age, weight, breed, color, photos, other information including detailed notes describing each animal are included on the website.
Dogs and cats from all over Macon County are looking for forever homes. These dogs and cats are rescues, owner releases and stray animals from Highlands, Franklin, Scaly Mountain, Otto, and the Cowee, Burningtown, Iotla, Cullasaja Hickory Knoll and Clarks Chapel communities in Macon County.
The volunteers of PSV are making a difference in the lives of shelter and rescue dogs and cats in Macon County. The group is made up of dedicated, animal-loving volunteers who walk dogs rain or shine to help bring some pleasure and excitement into the animals’ lives until they find their forever homes. The volunteers also give their time and attention to the cats whose temporary home is in the shelter or a foster home.
PSV always welcome new volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering to walk and spend time with the dogs and cats, please contact the group. Any PSV member would love to introduce you to the animals and have you help out. No formal commitment required.
PSV is actively seeking homes for the shelter and foster dogs and cats of Macon County. As volunteers they work tirelessly to take care of these dogs and cats while they are at shelters, rescues and foster homes, but know that they’d be so much happier with a family of their own in their forever home.