Homeless pets

Noel Smalley, Kathy Balsiger and Amber Neal

Noel Smalley

While studying physical therapy at Tulsa Community College and working, Smalley, 27, volunteers at Puppy Haven Rescue, where she manages its website and coordinates events and public relations. She also fosters dogs.

Smalley adopted her dog, Amelia, from Puppy Haven. Found on the river alone, at just four weeks old and without any teeth, Amelia weighed 1.62 pounds. Now, a year old, she’s thriving.

Puppy Haven was founded in April 2017 by Breanne Luiskutty, then a 23-year-old senior at Oral Roberts University. Smalley saw her ad on Facebook and was the first volunteer to reach out.

Now, more than 75 others of all ages help in various ways, including fostering and transporting dogs, serving at the boarding facility called the Dog House and at adoption events. Some help with social media; others launder dog bedding. Puppy Haven has rescued over 1,000 dogs, Smalley says.

Kathy Balsiger

Thanks to StreetCats Inc., more than 58 cats found forever homes in 2019. Balsiger founded StreetCats Inc. in 1997 and has fond memories of a street cat who “found her” as a young girl.

Now she enjoys watching cats choose their people. “Cats know who’s best to adopt them and usually settle in on just the right lap,” Balsiger says. Her own street cat, Molly, is 9.

Balsiger also helped found StreetCats’ “A Stitch in Time.” Working with local vets, this ongoing program helps to reduce the cat population in the area by spaying or neutering and vaccinating feral, homeless cats.

Through A Stitch in Time, when someone pays $20 for a voucher, StreetCats Inc. covers the balance of the charges from the vets who help the nonprofit. Because of such high demand and an overwhelming number of cats in need, local vets can only provide the services for so many cats, so vouchers are limited.

Amber Neal

Neal began working with Animal Rescue Foundation a few years ago at a partner facility from which ARF got their animals. At the time, she served on staff as the new house manager for the La Fortune Park site, the ARF House.

For more than 25 years, ARF has helped homeless pets avoid euthanasia at area shelters. Pets are given comprehensive veterinary care and, eventually, loving homes. Foster homes help make the transition from the shelter to a new home easier on the animal, ensuring the needs of the animal and prospective owner are well matched.

Each Wednesday through Sunday, Neal works at the ARF House, providing prospective owners a chance to meet cats and dogs. She says she is grateful for the many volunteers who provide loving foster homes and transport pets to adoption events.

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