For the love of animals
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 2:55 p.m.
Do you love animals but find you're unable to take on the responsibility of pet ownership at this time? No worries. There are plenty of ways to experience the joy of having animals in your life — no strings attached. Area rescue organizations are always looking for volunteers to lend a hand – or even a temporary home – to help save the life of an adorable, adoptable animal. Here are just a few opportunities available around town.
Who knows? While helping to spare the life of a shelter animal, the life you transform may be your own.
PETS & MORE
Alachua County Humane Society
What They Do: This organization works to reduce the number of healthy animals euthanized in Alachua County by more than 4,000 animals annually through its medical care, rehabilitative services and adoption center.
How You Can Help: Each animal taken in by the Humane Society requires $350 on average in expenses for medical care and food; therefore donations are always appreciated. However they are also in need of foster homes for rescue animals, administrative support, thrift store help, facility maintenance and volunteers to provide general animal care. Donations of supplies are also needed and a list can be found at www.alachuahumane.org.
Contact: Alachua County Humane Society, 352-373-5855, www.alachuahumane.org/volunteer
Animal Rescue Friends
What They Do: Since 2007 this rescue organization has been working towards its goal of becoming a no-kill animal control program through fostering and placement programs for injured, abandoned and abused dogs, cats and livestock.
How You Can Help: This is year has been focused on fundraising to support the completion of a new facility, which will triple the rescue organization's capacity. The group needs donations of money and supplies as well as volunteers to help foster animals in need.
Contact: Animal Rescue Friends, www.arfnorthfla.org
Gainesville Pet Rescue
What They Do: Gainesville Pet Rescue is a not-for-profit organization that has been dedicated to finding homes for unwanted pets for the past 20 years.
How You Can Help: Gainesville Pet Rescue needs volunteers in a variety of positions, such as cleaning cat and dog cages, helping with laundry and dishes, customer service, adoption counseling and animal care.
Contact: Gainesville Pet Rescue, Heather Thomas, 352-692-4773, www.gainesvillepetrescue.org
Haile's Angels Pet Rescue
What They Do: This nonprofit connects unwanted animals with new owners and helps reduce the number of euthanized animals in Alachua County annually. After 17 years at its old location, a new adoption center is currently in production, with plans for completion in the following months. Organizers are looking forward to relocating their animals to a modern facility. With the support of Dr. Linda McCollough, all pets available for adoption are fully examined, screened, vaccinated and spayed or neutered.
How You Can Help: The organization is always in need of donations to help offset the cost of medical expenses and care and feeding of the animals. There is also an opportunity to memorialize a loved one in the new facility by making a donation to the building construction fund.
Contact: Haile's Angels Pet Rescue, Kirk Eppenstein, 352-505-0302, firstname.lastname@example.org, hailesangels.org
Helping Hands Pet Rescue
What They Do: Through its adoption and rescue efforts, Helping Hands Pet Rescue places pets with new owners to help reduce the number of homeless pets in Alachua County. Adoptable animals are available to meet by appointment or at any of the scheduled Adopt-a-thon weekends at the local PetSmart store in Butler Plaza on Archer Road.
How You Can Help: The group needs volunteers to help transport animals and set up and break down at Adopt-a-thon events. Dog washing, walking, feeding, and general administrative support is needed, as well.
Contact: Helping Hands Pet Recue, 352-281-4358, helpinghandspetrescue @gmail.com, www.hhrescue.com
Phoenix Animal Rescue
What They Do: This volunteer organization provides safe and loving homes to abandoned, stray and neglected dogs in Alachua County. The group relies on the support of foster homes, where volunteers give the animals individual attention and help prepare them for placement in permanent homes.
How You Can Help: Foster parents are the backbone of this organization, which is always looking for new ones. Volunteers are also needed to help at the weekly showcases on Saturdays, where the public can see which animals are available for adoption.
Contact: Phoenix Animal Rescue, www.phoenixanimalrescue.org
Puppy Hill Farm Animal Rescue
What They Do: This animal rescue organization provides shelter for animals and facilitates pet adoptions, working closely with Alachua County Animal Services in the hopes of reducing the number of euthanasias performed each year at our local shelter. The group adopts out vaccinated and veterinarian-approved cats and dogs of all ages and backgrounds into loving homes through its weekend Adopt-a-Pet Days at PetSmart.
How You Can Help: The group needs volunteers on Saturdays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from noon-4 p.m. at PetSmart to help set-up, walk the animals, communicate with the public, pass out literature on adoption services and help break down. If you are looking for something even more hands-on, there are opportunities to assist with the farm's summer pet washes, care for the animals on the farm in Melrose, or foster a pet in your home.
Contact: Puppy Hill Farm, 352-478-1444, www.puppyhillfarm.com
Second Chance Farms
What They Do: This nonprofit animal rescue and rehabilitation organization helps homeless and unwanted pets find new permanent homes. They also take in geriatric and special-needs animals to live out the rest of their lives peacefully a the sanctuary farm.
How You Can Help: The group is in need of financial sponsors for any of the permanent residents that currently reside at the sanctuary ,as well as new foster families to take in animals until forever homes are found.
Contact: Second Chance Farms, www.secondchancefarms.org
Two Tails Ranch
What They Do: This 67-acre facility in Williston serves as a permanent home to retired elephants and a temporary home to other elephants whose residences are undergoing repairs or renovations. Since the ranch opened in 1984, more than 200 elephants —both African and Asian — have spent time there. In 2002, the owner established a nonprofit educational program, All About Elephants, offering educational tours, school programs, clinics and lectures to provide a closer look into the magical world of elephants.
How You Can Help: Garden volunteers of all abilities are needed to help water, plant and weed. The ranch also accepts donations of wheelbarrows, garden tools, plants, bulbs, etc. Volunteers may take as much elephant manure as they would like for use as fertilizer in their home gardens.
Contact: All About Elephants, Inc., 352-528-6585, email@example.com, allaboutelephants.com
Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary
What They Do: Located on 12 acres, Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary offers a permanent safe haven for more than 120 abused and retired monkeys from all over the United States. Working closely with primate and animal protection associations, the sanctuary's aim is to house primates that are no longer able to survive in the wild and are not appropriate to be kept as pets.
How You Can Help: The sanctuary is entirely reliant upon donations to provide the necessary resources to its resident monkeys. Individuals and groups of volunteers 18 years and older are needed to volunteer weekends or weekdays in four hours intervals to help care for the animals and facilities, including meal prep, cleanup and general grounds maintenance.
Contact: Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary, Kari Bagnall, 386-462-7779, www.junglefriends.org
Horse Protection Association of Florida
What They Do: Since 1990, the Horse Protection Association of Florida, located on a sprawling 150 acre farm between Micanopy and McIntosh. has taken in rescue horses in need of care and medical attention.
How You Can Help: Volunteers are an integral part of the farm's day-to-day operations and there are often multiple positions available to help with animal care and general upkeep. The HPAF is also always in need of donations of mony and supplies.
Contact: Horse Protection Association of Florida, 352-466-4366, www.hpaf.org
Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm
What They Do: This retirement home provides life-long care for unwanted horses on its 265 acres of beautiful pastureland. With the support of volunteers, the farm owners are currently caring for more than 130 horses at the farm.
How You Can Help: The yearly cost to keep the farm operational is around $275,000, so donations of money and supplies are always appreciated. Volunteers are also needed to help feed and care for the animals as well as assist with general chores around the farm.
Contact: Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm, 386-462-1001, www.millcreekfarm.org