It might seem like an eclectic Christmas wish list: Purina kitten and puppy food, dish and laundry soap, orange Pine Sol and bleach, paper towels, tissues, hand sanitizer, towels, peanut butter, dog and cat collars, toys, lint rollers, and clothes pins.
Those are some of the items that Paws Along the River, formerly the Warren County Humane Society, needs this holiday season.
Like many non-profit organizations, holiday donations account for most of the supplies and funding that Paws Along the River will receive this year.
Still adapting to the cuts in government funding last year, the only animal rescue in Warren hopes to find homes for more than 60 cats and dogs that it currently houses. "We're expecting to help more than 1,400 animals this year," said Executive Director Karen Kolos. So far this year, more than 1,300 animals have moved through Paws Along the River, an average of over 100 a month.
"Rescuing neglected and abused animals takes a lot from the budget," said Kolos as she discussed the need for food items and clean-up supplies. A wish list on the shelter's website provides a full list of items needed to sustain such an operation.
"The main thing we want to promote is adopting rather than going out and buying a pet," said volunteer and board member Jewel Rozanski. A volunteer for nearly four years, Rozanski and her husband Eric have certainly lived the mantra, adopting three rescued animals themselves which they have affectionately nicknamed "the pack."
"A lot of times people think there is something wrong with the animals because they're here, but that's usually not the case," said Kolos. Spending time with Faline, a two-year-old boxer who was picked up as a stray will prove this to anyone who wants to stop by. "There's a pet here for everyone," said Rozanski. "There's no need to travel to Pittsburgh to buy a pet when there are so many animals here that just want a home."
Adoption isn't the only service offered by Paws Along the River. In addition, there is also a lost and found service to help unite lost pets with their owners. Food assistance is available for those who are unable to buy food for their pet. They'll even help train a puppy with obedience classes that are now being offered.
Paws Along the River has more than 35 cats and 30 dogs waiting to be adopted, so the need for volunteers and potential owners is high.
Not looking to adopt, but still want to help? There are several ways to do so:
Sponsor a kennel on the website. For a small donation, a kennel can be sponsored for a month.
Volunteer at the shelter. After completing the necessary application, volunteers become involved in the daily routine.
Donate. Check the website for the wish list and drop items off at Paws Along the River.