You don’t need lots of acreage to rescue animals. In Royal Palm Beach, Denise Willoughby has put together a group of volunteers who foster pets in their own homes. While Willoughby works full-time at a nursing hospital, foster volunteer Kat Calloway helps keep things humming along at Luv-A-Pet.
“Denise used to foster animals through Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control (ACC),” Calloway explained. “But it bothered her that she never got to see where the animals were going. So, she gathered together a group of ladies she knew and founded Luv-A-Pet in 2004.”
Key to the operation is the M*A*S*H (Mobile Animal Surgical Hospital) unit, where veterinarian Dr. Virginia Sayre donates her time to provide low-cost vaccines, as well as spay and neuter services for area pets. Volunteers like Calloway allow the unit to park on their property, then take to the web to publicize its current location.
“We’re small, but we try to make an impact wherever we can,” Calloway said. “We take in dogs and cats we get via word-of-mouth, Facebook and the ACC, if they’re full. We also take in strays. Some of these animals are broken, some are sick, some have astronomical medical bills, but Denise won’t turn them away. I find that admirable. Because we have no designated space of our own, we are completely dependent upon our foster volunteers.”
Calloway got involved in 2015 when her son was earning community service hours by showing some of the foster kittens at PetSmart in Royal Palm Beach, in hopes of finding adoptive homes for them. In addition to adoption events, Luv-A-Pet uses Petfinder, Facebook and word-of-mouth to place the rehabilitated animals.
“Some kitties who needed fostering came my way, and it became a labor of love,” Calloway said. “I have two dogs of my own but have since determined that I am a cat person. I only take in cats and kittens.”
More than 100 cats have since found their way through Calloway’s home.
“I own the ‘crazy cat lady’ label,” she smiled. “As for Luv-A-Pet and Denise, I will never leave her. She genuinely cares for and loves the animals and will do whatever needs to be done to give them happy lives.”
Luv-A-Pet held its big auction fundraiser at the end of August and hosts other events to raise money throughout the year. All proceeds go toward caring for the animals. Although the need is great and the task is daunting, the loyal volunteers at Luv-A-Pet never miss a beat to save lost souls.
Learn more about this nonprofit at www.luvapet.net.