The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

February 16, 2014

Ryan Richardson: Newton County group seeks forever homes

JOPLIN, Mo. — When anyone asks me where to get a pet, I always tell them that any path that goes to adoption is the best way possible.

Whether it lands you at a local shelter or you are adopting a young pet from a new litter, you're doing it right. You're making sure a pet that didn't choose to be homeless has a loving home.

Many of those humane shelters or rescue organizations pair up with businesses such as PetSmart for adoption drives, increasing both parties' visibility in the community. That's how I got Cami, and I haven't looked back since.

When I heard about a group in Newton County called Faithful Friends Animal Advocates that does just that, I immediately became interested in their mission.

I found out about them through Donna Moss, editorial assistant at the Globe.

She received a notice from the advocates attending the PetSmart adoption drive this weekend.

While this column comes out after the event, I reached out to talk with the group's vice president, Karol Mayer, to see what it is all about.

Based in Newton County, Faithful Friends Animal Advocates started out as a group of like-minded individuals who shared the belief that all animals deserved the chance at a good home. Over the past five years, they have worked toward funding a no-kill shelter outside of Neosho on Highway 86.

While the shelter is still being constructed, members and volunteers have rescued animals and put them in area foster homes before they match a pet with the "right kind of owner."

"We are of the mindset that animals aren't disposable. You can't just discard them when they get out of hand or they don't mind right," Mayer said. "There is education that goes with both the owner and the pet that needs to help them. We try to fit the dog to the person and vice versa. We give them options. We feel like that is the best road to get these pets adopted."

That includes going out to the monthly adoption drives at Petsmart in addition to taking part in the store's quarterly adoption weekend. Mayer estimates the group places two to three pets at each of these drives, though that number has spiked to as high as seven. Through their efforts, they have placed more than 1,000 pets into new homes.

These were pets that were surrendered or left to wander out in the streets. These were pets that were just unfortunate enough to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Those animals now have forever homes.

The group is still actively raising funds toward getting its no-kill shelter up and going in addition to running adoption services for animals found in Newton and McDonald counties. On the third Sunday of every month, you'll find them at Petsmart ready to talk about matching you up with the right kind of pet for your home.

Mayer said that the organization, which is now supported by more than 30 volunteers, is always looking for an extra set of hands. If you are interested in volunteering or are considering adopting a pet, reach out to them at www.ffaaneosho.org and fill out forms on their site to get the process started.

Contact Ryan Richardson about this column or other topic suggestions at rrichardson@joplinglobe.com or 417-627-7363.

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