If you ask a volunteer why they got involved O’Fallon’s All Paws Rescue, you’ll get the same answer from each of them: they simply love animals.
“Every single person involved, from the president of the organization to the foster parents and the volunteers who clean the cat cages at PetSmart—they do this only because they love animals and want to help. It is exciting to be involved with such a great group of people,” said All Paws Rescue volunteer Laurie Metzger.
Founded in 2003, All Paws Rescue, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization in O'Fallon. It began with several individuals identifying the need for foster homes for strays and finding them homes. Bev Kreinbrook, president and one of the founders, initiated the 501(c)3 non-profit process.
“Volunteer foster homes provide a safe place in their home for a needy dog or cat,” said Metzger. “This takes a bigger time commitment but is very rewarding. All Paws provides for all the vet care and the foster home just provides love and a safe place to stay until the animal can be adopted.”
Another All Paws Rescue volunteer, Shuma Chaudhuri said being involved with the organization has been an emotional experience.
“Quite honestly, the experience has been rewarding in so many ways. Unfortunately, 4,000,000 cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year,” she said. “To see the family excited to take their new family member home is a feeling that is difficult to describe. Seeing follow-up pictures and receiving follow-up stories from the families is always a heart-warming experience.”
Without a doubt, the volunteers care for the dogs and cats that come through the care of All Paws. Both Chaudhuri and Metzger hold one special dog close to their hearts. Coming to them as a puppy, Ziggy has been waiting to be adopted for some time. He is hearing impaired, but eager to learn and knows many sign commands. A bit rambunctious, Ziggy has had a hard time finding a perfect home.
“We know that the perfect adopter is out there waiting somewhere for Ziggy,” said Chaudhuri. “He is a very loving dog, and he loves to play with his foster brothers and sisters.”
Volunteers say one thing that makes their organization special, is that while some rescue groups would have given up on animals like Ziggy long ago, All Paws continues to support him and do everything they can to help him find a home.
“Other volunteers have offered to care for Ziggy when I (his foster parent) am out of town,” Metzger said. “They watch over him at adoption events and talk to potential adopters about his special needs.”
The ultimate goal of All Paws is to find adopted families for these pets. They hold weekly adoption events at area stores, where people can meet the animals. All pets are listed with pictures and biographies on the All Paws website. To ensure a positive pet-owner relationship, potential adopters are asked to fill out an application, which is also found on the site.
“We screen the foster families to ensure a proper placement, for example, does the dog do well with children, does the cat get along with other household pets, etcetera,” said Metzger.
Until pets can find forever homes, volunteers play an important role in ensuring the success of All Paws. The organization has many opportunities for volunteer work, including walking dogs at adoption events, setting up fundraising events, assisting at fundraising events and being a foster parent.
At a given time, All Paws Rescue may have around 30 to 40 active volunteers. To become a volunteer, you can fill out an application found on their website. For more information you can call the PAWS line at 636-288-2999.
Chaudhuri added that All Paws is always looking for more volunteers and foster families.