According to Georgia SPOT (Stopping Pets Overpopulation Together) Society, there were almost 20,000 pets impounded in DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties alone in 2017. And while local shelters and organizations do all they can to help these homeless pets, often they could use some extra help.
That’s why three Centers for Disease Control and Prevention employees decided to start their own organization to bring help in the way of awareness and the much needed resources for these local shelters. The CDC employee association organization is called Pets to the Rescue.
Pets to the Rescue is not an animal rescue organization, rather a group of CDC animal advocates committed to improving animal welfare, with a focus on homeless animals. It is not affiliated with a specific organization - members volunteer with many different groups.
Their focus is to create a support network to serve as a resource to animal lovers, support an active CDC volunteer base (including friends and family of CDC staff) and their vital rescue organizations so save animal lives, and provide social opportunities for members to have fun and give back to the community. For more than a year now Pets to the Rescue has worked to provide much needed education, networking, shelter supplies, and volunteering opportunities to get the needed resources into the hands of those who need it most.
The organization was founded by CDC employees, Erica Jimenez, Andrea Moore, and Tim Etherington, when they volunteered for Lifeline Animal Project at a local shelter. Etherington said that after their paths crossed there, they decided to keep the momentum going and thought an employee association would be front and center when it came to outreach – something that would gain legs and hadn’t been done before.
“That’s what’s amazing,” Etherington said. “Nothing like this had been done before. We knew this would be novel. This would be innovative and so helpful and timely. We just wanted to help local homeless pets and do our part, and we felt like an employee association could help fill that gap.”
And the members of the organization have been very active during the first year developing their mission, electing officers, and solidifying the structure of the organization. They also hold meetings, started a CDC Listserve, an intranet site with a calendar, discussion boards, and have an active and growing Facebook group.
The organization already has more than 100 members on board, which Etherington called “phenomenal,” and so far those members have participated in several networking and volunteering opportunities with other shelters and organizations such as PAWs Atlanta, as well as National Pet Adoption events. April 30 was National Pet Adoption Day and members collected and distributed much needed supplies to local shelters.
While Pets to the Rescue is a CDC Employee Association Organization, others can participate. Etherington said that one of the focuses of the group is taking on a collaborator or connector role by connecting pet lovers and those who want to volunteer to those shelters and organizations in need.
“Everyone can contribute, whether you’re donating resources or your time,” Etherington said.
To learn about the organization and ways to participate or how to volunteer, contact Tim Etherington or Nancy Kluisza.