“No More Homeless Pets in Yavapai County 2010.”
A lofty goal and perhaps something that may seem close to impossible on the surface. But to Nancy Vargo of United Animal Friends, (UAF) it’s not only possible, but doable. And Vargo is ready to make it happen through hard work, rounding up volunteers and raising money for the cause.
Right now the UAF are running their biggest fundraiser of the year, an on-line auction. There are some exciting things up for bid, such as a hot air balloon ride, white water rafting in Maine, or lunch in the Verde Valley with “Elito the Deli Llama.” As of this writing there are 498 items up for bid from paintings, jewelry, antiques, books, cd’s and of course things to pamper your animals with. The auction ends this Saturday, with a Grand Finale Champagne Brunch to be held Sunday morning, 11:00 am, at An American Grille, 129½ N. Cortez in Prescott . Cost for the brunch is $20, (funds going to the spay/neuter program) and there will be more things to bid on.
As for “No more homeless pets,” Vargo says there are several locations across the United States who have achieved that goal. For example Rhode Island is now so low on pets they actually import the animals from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico has a huge problem with unwanted animals roaming the streets, and Rhode Island’s vigilance at keeping their pet population down helps get those animals into loving homes.
United Animal Friends started in 2003 as a rescue organization and has evolved into working actively with local veterinarians to get low cost spay and neuter services done for pets. Usually the cost is divided three ways, with UAF, the vets and the pet owners each contributing a third. Vargo states though that, “If the family is very low income we take that into consideration.”
The group does not have a shelter, and never intends to create one because they don’t want the animals caged. Instead the animals are “fostered” out to volunteer families who take care of them until they are adopted.
UAF has a unique program in the area where they will trap feral cats, neuter them, and then release them back where they came from. They also have an “Animal Disaster Program.” If there is a fire or other disaster in the area they will take care of lost animals until their owners can be found. In addition the group will go to schools, at no cost, and give presentations to students about animals and how to care for them.
Aside from financial donations, which are always welcome, the group is looking for volunteers to help them in many ways. Vargo says that volunteers are needed in many capacities, from “hands on” volunteers who will take care of the animals or open their homes to “foster” them, do paperwork, make phone calls or just holding a dog at an adoption event. They group is at Petco every Sunday from noon to 3:00, and at Olsen's Grain in Prescott every other Saturday. Soon they will be at the Farmer's Market at Yavapai College. If you would like to volunteer, or adopt a pet, please call Nancy Vargo at 778-2924.