ELMSFORD, NY - Lucas, a gray cat with neon green eyes, nuzzled Marcy Rydd's face as she carried him down the hallway of Elmsford's Pets Alive Westchester (PAW) animal shelter.
Since opening in mid-2010, the Westchester site has been the temporary home to roughly 500 cats and dogs, ranging in age, gender and size. After replacing the Elmsford Animal Shelter, PAW tries to pair its animals with suitable families for adoption or fostering.
"I want the community to know that adopting a rescue animal is a wonderful thing," said Rydd, PAW's community relations officer. "We always put the animals first every single day, but you can't just leave them at the shelter. They need a good home, and our goal is to get our animals into great homes."
With 45,000 square feet of space for Fido and Felix, the animals' accommodation is freer than most shelters. The cats share multiple open rooms, while the dogs reside in indoor and outdoor kennels that are cleaned daily.
With the primary cause of canine and feline deaths in America is from shelter killings, PAW is a no-kill shelter dedicated to finding good homes for all of its animals.
"Adopting a shelter dog or cat is a great experience for the whole family because they make a great gift," said Rydd.
As PAW does not receive any city or state funding, they rely on public donations and volunteering to subsidize them. On average, of each dollar they receive, 88 cents goes straight to the animals.
In addition, PAW offers free medical care to fostered pets, a six-week training program to adopted pets and their owners, an in-house trainer and a short-term infirmary.
"Our biggest message is for people to know that we're a really highly-regarded grassroots organization," said Rydd. "And we're on a rescue mission to take care of animals, save them and send them home with a family."
To volunteer at PAW, please call 914-592-7334.
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