By Holly Roeder
Loving Paws Rescue is celebrating 15 years of showing up for Chester County’s pups. That is 15 years of second chances. Helping, saving, loving, rehoming. Fifteen years of feeding, spaying/neutering, granting new lives and seeing that hard lives end in peace. As one might imagine, that is 15 years of joy and tears, of laughter and grief.
The local rescue was founded August 5, 2005, by Carol Preuss, Sherrye McKinnin, Carol Reese and Ann Vanderlin. Preuss had lived in Chester County with her husband Ron for about three years at that point, and were already beginning to see that Chester County had a problem with unwanted pets. “We were up to 21 dogs and seven cats – all of whom found their way to the house after being dumped nearby,” she said.
Taking action, Preuss wrote a letter to the editor in the Chester County Independent. As a result of this letter, contacts were made, details were discussed, plans were made and Loving Paws was born.
Fifteen years later, the work continues – with no sign of letting up. “Due to folks not getting their pets ‘fixed,’” Preuss explained, “there is a horrible over-population of dogs and cats. We will never rescue our way out of that… (there) just aren’t enough homes for them all.” Loving Paws has stepped up in Chester County and placed more than 3,400 fully vetted dogs and cats in safe, new homes. “We have touched countless more that for one reason or another just couldn’t be adopted,” Preuss continued, “they remain with us for their lifetime in a safe loving home environment.” In addition, the rescue plays an active role in the community, drastically reducing the number of unwanted litters through a community alter program, providing low-cost surgical procedures for those in need.
2020 was set to be a year of celebration with events planned to honor and appreciate all those who have stood alongside Loving Paws all these years, and to procure funding in preparation for the years to come. However, as with many organizations and families, this year has taken a toll. Three fundraising events have already been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the Aug. 29 Birthday Bash is all the more important if they are to continue. The costs for providing services and emergency procedures, not even to mention the daily care and upkeep, are hard earned. Loving Paws receives all financial support through fundraising and donations. They do not receive any city, county or state funding. As a 501 c3, all donations to Loving Paws may be claimed as charitable contributions on taxes by requesting a receipt.
Aside from cash, Preuss says volunteers have been fundamental to each success. The rescue world is one definitely not to be navigated alone. She wants to thank “first and foremost, Ron for putting up with my need to jump in feet first most times and for being our personal chef for our BBQ events.” She also wishes to express gratitude to the following:
“All my cohorts over the years including Melissa Burcham, Sherrye McKinnon, Carol Reese, Laurie Parten – these ladies have been in the trenches with me many times and share the same love of the down trodden dogs and cats as I have; our vet team – Dr. Ellen Deming and ‘the girls’ for always being there – even when it wasn’t convenient and for putting up with my sometime desire for a miracle when it just wasn’t possible; most importantly, our sister rescue in Mass., Forever Home Rescue New England, for being incredibly instrumental in placing our doggie babies into awesome homes for the past 13 years; the transport team of PETS LLC…they have a true calling for this mission and we love them for it; Petsmart for giving us a place to get our kitties adopted; my kids, grandkids and siblings, who try to understand my pushing myself when all they really want is for me to spend time with them (Love you more than you’ll ever know!) Last but by no means the least is our awesome volunteer and supporter angels who are always there when needed – whether for a donation, supporting an event, helping at an event or just listening to me when I get overwhelmed. I am so blessed to have these folks in my life!”
Those who would like to be part of Loving Paws’ story of success should show up for the fun from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 29 at Tractor Supply in Henderson.
See below this story for more information, or check out the fundraiser on facebook.