New nonprofit lends a helping paw
Bunny and Bobbee are two playful special-needs cats who managed to find their way into Maudie Murray’s home through Gateway Pets owner and animal-lover Laurie Munroe.
Murray has had the cats for about a year now and is the first unofficial participant in Munroe’s nonprofit organization, Village Paws. The effort will provide pet care in Truckee to people who are either low income, senior citizens, disabled or who are terminally ill.
Murray, 69, lives in the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments with her furry feline companions and makes her way around her home with tentative, slow steps because she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. Village Paws makes sure Murray always has enough cat food on hand to feed Bunny and Bobbee. Murray said her daughter buys her cat litter and she supplies the cat treats to keep her animals content.
She relies on Social Security every month, so she said she can’t afford to pay for all the expenses.
“I think there’s a lot of people who want a pet but need help,” Murray said.
Village Paws will launch at the Pet Expo this Saturday, when an information booth will be set up by Gateway Pets with a sign-up sheet for volunteers and a sign-up sheet to become a recipient of the organization’s services.
This year marks the first time Munroe has been able to formally introduce her idea to the public, now having the appropriate federal and state paperwork filed to establish Village Paws as a nonprofit.
Munroe said she modeled Village Paws after Paws (Pets Are Wonderful Support) based in San Francisco. She said they gave her advice on what to do and what not to do and about how to set the criteria on who should receive assistance. She said she wants to see the nonprofit become a national organization eventually with the Truckee location as the example.
She said she has been providing dog and cat food out of her own pocket for three years to the Placer County Animal Shelter in Tahoe Vista and to local residents in need of assistance. She has managed to get several pet food companies such as Nutro, Eagle Pack, Wellness, Natural Balance and Evolve to donate food to the cause.
“By providing high quality food we’re really reducing the cost of veterinarian bills,” Munroe said.
Munroe’s customers share with her the financial difficulties they are struggling with.
She said when a person’s economic situation changes they have a hard time “deciding whether to pay the bills or buy pet food.”
Munroe said once funding is available Village Paws hopes to provide veterinary care, grooming, assistance in re-homing animals, and transportation as needed. Village Paws also aids in retraining animals and finds foster homes when an emergency situation arises.
The new nonprofit works with The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe when an animal’s owner can no longer care for the pet by finding a new home. She said she hopes to provide care to other kinds of pets besides cats and dogs soon.
Murray’s cats are two rescue Minx’s that Munroe housed and nursed back to health. Murray said the cats love to sleep on top of the couch and watch the birds outside her screen door.