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Funding ‘Second Chances’ for Animals

MCPAW supports county’s Animal Services and Adoption Center

"Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no criticisms,” stated writer George Elliot.

MCPAW (Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-Being) is doing everything in their power to be certain that as many “agreeable friends” as possible have another opportunity to find loving homes.

“These animals deserve a second chance to share their unconditional love with an individual or family,” said Allan Cohen, MCPAW chairman of the board. For more than two years, the organization has held events to raise additional revenue to support the new Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on Oct. 15 and the building will open in early November.

The state-of-the-art facility under construction at the northwest corner of Muncaster Mill Road and Airpark Drive in Gaithersburg will feature public adoption areas, holding and treatment areas, a veterinary clinic for neuter/spay services, rabies shots and preventative care, classrooms, conference rooms and office space. The Adoption Center will house a minimum of 162 canines, 208 felines and 34 small animals. It will also have a livestock barn for larger rescue animals.

Some of the funds that MCPAW is raising will provide additional equipment for the Spay and Neuter Center and will also ensure that their services as well as those of the veterinary clinic are available to every family in the county, regardless of ability to pay. MCPAW funds will also be earmarked to provide educational programs for Montgomery County citizens.

Cohen explained his organization’s vision: “We will use some of the funds to provide a comfortable, stress-free room for adoptive parents to get to know the animals. This will be a room to play with the dogs or cats to learn if the adoption will be a good fit. The Animal Services and Adoption Center will become a ‘Community Center for Pet Lovers,’ offering educational programs, volunteer opportunities and children’s activites. MCPAW also wants to provide support for individuals and families with financial difficulties so they don’t have to give up their pets because they cannot afford food and good health care for them. Many days, there are as many as 200 animals at the shelter. We want to help in any way possible to help find these animals good, loving homes – and help them stay in these homes.”

MCPAW board member and veterinarian Dr. John Wesson completed a residency program in Shelter Medicine at the University of California-Davis. He is passionate about gathering best practices from other model shelters to make the Montgomery County facility run efficiently — and become one of the best in the country. “Many animals die in shelters each year, often as a result of infectious diseases. We want to prevent the spread of disease and make certain the sheltered animals are as comfortable as they can be. Even the design of a cage can make a difference to the animal’s comfort. I’ve been opening the lines of communication with other shelters and learning their secrets to success,” he said. “I want to raise the awareness of the needs of our Animal Services and Adoption Center among our county’s residents.” Wesson is a Potomac resident who practices veterinary medicine in McLean, Va.

MCPAW has recently received a $10,000 donation for the Spay and Neuter Clinic and a $20,000 grant named after a cat named “Purple.” The organization plans to establish a program to encourage seniors to adopt cats and teach them how to care for them. The program will be named “Purple Care” after the donor’s cat.

“We are also incredibly pleased that many animal lovers are already signing up for volunteer positions,” said Cohen. “We need people to exercise and socialize the animals, help with adoptions and licensing, work in the gift shop and play with the puppies and kittens. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back.”

MCPAW provides animal lovers with many ways to donate. These include the opportunity to purchase brick pavers that will be displayed within the entrance plaza of the new adoption center. Benches may also be purchased and both pavers and benches can be engraved with a tribute to a beloved pet, a family member or friend, or with a corporate logo and name. MCPAW will honor and recognize individuals who make significant contributions to the new center by providing naming opportunities for wings, clinics or other areas of the center.

Residents can also help MCPAW raise funds for their support of the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center by dining at Potomac Pizza in Potomac or on Muddy Branch Road from 4 – 9 p.m. on May 8. Potomac Pizza will donate a share of the dining bill to MCPAW.

Donations can also be sent to MCPAW, 9613 Eldwick Way, Potomac, MD 20854. Learn more about MCPAW at www.mcpaw.org.