As the number of its canine residents rises and the number of volunteer workers falls, the 4 Paws Rescue Center of Ruston is calling out for more volunteer help.
“We depend solely on donations, fundraisers and volunteer work,” said Sue Martin, organization president.
Since 2005, Martin has been working with stray animals and she said the number of strays has not declined over the years.
“We live in a rural community, and there are a lot of dumpsters,” she said. “Even today, you can go by a dumpster and see a group of stray puppies or kittens. A few people who were concerned decided to do something, and that evolved into 4 Paws Rescue.”
Being a non-profit organization, 4 Paws’ budget must be structured in a way so the essentials can be provided.
“Our expenses run around $1,500 a month,” Martin said. “Mainly it goes toward food and veterinary care. If we had 100 people give $20 a month, we’d have more than enough to cover our monthly expenses.”
With the help of the community, 4 Paws is planning their first-ever awareness day, scheduled for Oct 12th.
“We are getting ready for our inaugural ‘4 Paws Palooza,’ ” Martin said. “It will be on Oct 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at our house here on 290 Rodeo Rd. There will be musical entertainment, face painting and a magician for the children. We will have some of our puppies out so people can pet them and see who it is they are donating to.”
The number of adoptions from 4 Paws has increased this year.
Martin said they usually see about 10 to 12 adoptions a month, but this year in total, they have had 234 adoptions.
“People want something personal to donate to,” said Catlin Tatum, a junior communication design major who volunteers her time doing graphic design for the shelter.
“We ran a picture of a Chihuahua in the Ruston Daily Leader this summer, and it made the front page,” Tatum said. “He needed hind leg and back surgery which totaled around $3,000. We received around $8,000 total in donations. I think because people really got to see the Chihuahua, they felt an attachment and wanted to help.”
Tatum said she has made posters and hung them up across the campus.
“To be honest, I didn’t know about 4 Paws until just last year,” she said. “And the volunteers do get something back. Working counts as two community service hours, and it looks awesome on a résumé.”
Those interested in volunteering can receive more information on 4 Paws at their Facebook page.
“For me, it’s a passion,” Martin said. “My husband asks me all the time, ‘When do you plan to stop?’ The answer comes to me without question: when I draw my last breath.”
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