Forever for Paws

Oct. 31, 2013 @ 06:15 AM

Pet owners agree that it is not the owners that choose their pets – it’s the pet that selects the owner.
We don’t know the selection criteria or the reasons why a particular dog or cat appeals to our tastes; there is evidence to suggest that some pets look like their owners, or is it the other way around? Either way, we cohabitate with dogs and cats much like we do fellow humans.
But life is not always perfect and we are prone to mistakes and the bends on our roads we travel. The reality is that pets sometimes what begins as a cute puppy ends up a. Most people are aware of animal shelters and the sometimes-mournful role they play in the lives of “good intentions but bad outcome” pets. We don’t like to think about a fuzzy and warm kitten meeting its demise, but the reality is that there is an overabundance of feral cats, and cats and dogs that have been turned loose, and when it comes to feeding the family or feeding a dog or cat, priorities sometimes cloud the heart.
Yet, there are people and groups that work tirelessly to help, and one such group, Paws4ever in Orange County, is dedicated to the cause of cats and dogs, forever. “For over 50 years Paws4ever has been saving lives and completing families in our local community. We are the only guaranteed-adoption sanctuary in our area and partner with county shelters to rescue and care for the animals that need it most. In doing so, we not only save the lives of countless cats and dogs every year, but we also help reduce overcrowding and euthanasia rates for these county shelters,” says Laura Griest, executive director of the 501©3 non-profit organization.
The concept behind Paws4ever is a thorough placement process that bonds pets with families. “We are very selective of the pets we rescue from shelters and we work tirelessly to select those animals that we feel have a high rate of being adopted and will blend well with people,” says Griest.
Located in Western Orange County, the facility managed by Paws4ever provides needed resources for dogs and cats to live and adapt and also is a place where owners and pets can learn, together, obedience and basic training concepts.
“Because of our life-long commitment to these animals, Paws4ever must provide veterinary care for chronic conditions, aging issues, dental care and life threatening illnesses in addition to preventative treatments, spay/neuter and initial veterinary exams,” Griest said.
These costs and resources are expensive and require monetary support. “We rely solely on private donations from individuals and corporations,” Griest said. As it takes creativity and passion to see a project into the future, Paws4ever has established select mechanisms for raising funds that support its core mission. In Hillsborough, in the Daniel Boone Complex, the Paws4ever resale store serves as a place where people can shop for items that range from antiques and house wares to pet supplies and handcrafted pieces, with the proceeds going to Paws4ever.
“Items sold in the shop are donated and all proceeds support Paws4ever. The inventory changes daily so customers are encouraged to come back regularly. You never know what treasure will be waiting,” Griest said. “We’ve been open for three years now and the list of items accepted can be found at http://paws4ever.org/store. We’re also looking for individuals to serve as volunteers in the store.” 
As for other resources under the umbrella of Paws4ever, the organization has professional trainers who instruct owners and their pets in various disciplines from therapy to basic obedience. “Our next session of classes begins on Nov. 11 and lasts for about five-weeks,” Griest said. These classes take place at the learning center on Nick’s.
In addition, Paws4ever has followed the food-fad that many humans have discovered, by offering a food truck. RoadWaggin’ Wagon sells gourmet pet treats at all the Durham Food Truck Rodeos and various other events around town. According to Griest, “Pets will love the beautiful iced cookies or delicious doggie ice cream handmade by Gourmutt’s Bakery in Raleigh.” 
Truly, it takes a special passion and dedication to care for animals that have been abandoned or have ended up at shelters under various circumstances. Griest describes herself as being lucky in that she is able to dedicate her life now to seeing pets move from shelter to the facility and into forever homes, when that time is right.
The organization will begin its new Home Space program in November. The program aims to help all the dogs at Paws4Ever acclimate to the sounds and activities of a home environment so the transition into a forever home will be easier and less stressful and it allows the dogs who have been with the organization for years to enjoy a few hours in a home, which can help alleviate some of the stress of the shelter environment,” Griest said.
All of the work done through these programs or the resale store and the behind-the-scenes work to keep a facility that houses pets for eventual adoption takes time and human-power. Griest said that her group is always looking for volunteers.
“There are two additional ways that community members can support us in addition to financial donations and the ways mentioned above. Because of our limited staff resources, Paws4ever relies heavily on our wonderful crew of volunteers. Volunteers walk dogs, socialize and brush cats, help with the resale store and at events, and assist in the office with administrative tasks. Additionally, we rely a great deal on the donations of supplies, particularly cleaning supplies, at litter and kitten food,” Griest said.
Griest, explained the reward of seeing a pet that was once in a shelter become part of a new family’s life. “It is a sense of accomplishment when we are able to place and animal know that dog or cat made it from a shelter and into the loving home of a caretaker,” Griest said.
Inside the resale store, there are pictures of cats and dogs that have been named by the volunteers at Paws4ever. These pets have personalities and their affection is waiting to be matched with a family that understands the lifelong commitment and needs that pet ownership has. As nothing in this life is forever and we are perhaps the ones that are selected by pets, there is a great reward in seeing the life of a pet that was lost or abandoned become the life of a family that is united through pet and human ownership, together. For more information, visit http://paws4ever.org.

HOW TO HELP

Paws4ever is a guaranteed-adoption animal shelter and sanctuary dedicated to improving the lives of cats and dogs through adoption, training and education. Located in Mebane, it is the only guaranteed-adoption facility in Orange County. The organization rescues cats and dogs from local shelters before they’re euthanized, thereby saving animal lives and helping our county shelters reduce overcrowding.

Paws4ever relies 100 percent on donations and revenue from its services. There are many ways to support Paws4ever. Take a training class with one of our experts, join our 3-acre dog park, shop at and donate to our Resale Store in Hillsborough, volunteer, purchase one of our many fundraiser items (collars, greeting cards, and more!), contribute much-needed supplies, or host your own fundraiser for Paws4ever. You can even become a sponsor of the organization in honor of one of our animals! Select an animal and contribute either $30 or $100 per month. Your gift goes to provide care for that animal and all the animals at Paws4ever until we’re able to find them forever homes.

Learn more at http://paws4ever.org.


SUPPLY ITEMS NEEDED:
We now have an Amazon Wish List (http://amzn.com/w/17KUCOKO9APYA)! Shop online and Amazon will automatically ship the supplies to us! It couldn’t be easier!

Large mop heads*
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Scoopable cat litter
Bleach
Vinegar
Laundry soap
Hand soap
Dish soap
Dishwasher soap
Kitten food (can and dry)
Fabuloso floor cleaner (nothing with ammonia in it)
Cat nip
Can cat food
Low fat dog food

* See Amazon for details
Please select quality cat and dog food without excess dyes.

Have a feature for story for Jason Hawkins, please contact him at hawkinsoutdoors@msn.com.