No-kill Pet Refuge in South Bend making a difference through volunteers

NOW: No-kill Pet Refuge in South Bend making a difference through volunteers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Whether you’re a dog person ---

“Such a good boy! Such a good boy!” Said Darla Pantzer, Pet Refuge Volunteer.

Or more of a cat person…

“Hi! Hi! Who else wants love? No one? Okay.” Said David Barry, Pet Refuge Volunteer.

Pet Refuge in South Bend may be sheltering your new best friend.

“Got enough pets? Got enough pets to last you?” Asked Tiffany.

The pets may be cute but the volunteers are the real heroes.

When asked why they do what they do…

“A good bit of physical work is good for you in your retirement but mostly…. Mostly it’s the cats,” said Barry.

David Barry’s been volunteering at the shelter for the last decade. He's here every Wednesday.

“I think she likes to be captured. She likes to be held. So, it’s like if I run out, somebody’s going to pick me up. Huh pretty girl?” Said Barry.

Stella Anne gives him the most trouble during his shift.

“We clean the rooms twice a day, the cats and dogs… the dog side… get tremendous care,” said Barry.

Speaking of the dog side!

“These guys I do on the first of the month, said Darla Pantzer. “And these guys I do in the middle of the month so I just go down the row.”

Darla Pantzer is also a long-time volunteer. Over the last five years, she went from volunteering once a week to working as the shelter’s dog coordinator.

“You know I just do it because it’s so fulfilling,” said Pantzer. “To me, it is my career, it is a job. I just happen to be a volunteer. “

These guys keep Darla pretty busy.

“You feeling okay? Let me see you. Let me see you honey,” said Pantzer.

“It’s just wonderful to see a dog that might come in that’s super thin, or sickly, or have heartworm, or needs a surgery, to get them through that process is pretty… it’s neat,” said Pantzer.

Sometimes the process of getting healthy and to their forever homes takes a long time. As a no-kill shelter, Darla says they had one dog for as long as 9 years.

Zeke is one little guy who’s been around for a while.

“Finding the right home. We do the adoption process and then we take a picture of them before they go home and it’s just wonderful to see them walk out the door,” said Pantzer.

It can be rewarding work. But full shelters in our community also means there’s a problem with over population and the abandonment of animals.

So, it’s also important we do our part by spaying neutering our pets and committing to them through thick and thin.

“I love the dogs, and I love doing what I do and seeing them go to their forever homes,” said Pantzer.

“We have such a good feeling when we’re done,” said Barry. “I always do a final walkaround and it’s funny. All the cats are napping, they’re relaxed. We’ve done our jobs and they’re happy.”

You can find Pet Refuge in South Bend at 4626 South Burnett Drive.

Just stop by if you’re interested in volunteering or want to donate any items.

You can check out the holiday bazaar, bake sale and adoption event! You can meet a potential new family member, take pictures with Santa, and enter to win prizes. That’s this Saturday, December 4.

Click here to learn more. 

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