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A few thousand cats and dogs were cared for by St. Croix Animal Welfare Center last year. Many of these animals need a forever home but before they can be re-homed, medical care and attention is required. The St. Croix AWC is a non-profit organization and they rely heavily on donations. This does not always have to be a monetary donation. Many people in the community, including our very own Sharon Early, volunteer time at the shelter helping out wherever they can.

“I clean up kennels, walk the dogs, love on them, help with feedings and fresh water, and I also help with pet transports,” says Sharon. “They don’t ask for anything more than love and attention.” Sharon has adopted a dog from the shelter and says that pets require time and devotion.

We spoke with St. Croix AWC Volunteer Coordinator Denise Blanchette and she mentioned several ways you can help the shelter, including fostering an animal, spending the day with an animal and even dropping off any extra newspapers and towels.

Denise said they rely heavily on donations but also on fundraisers. “We like to serve the community while also raising money.” This weekend the animal shelter will be hosting “Barks and Brews” a family fall festival at Leatherback Brewery from 2-5PM. There will be a pie raffle, pet costume contest, arts and crafts and of course food and drinks. Money raised from the fundraiser will benefit the shelter.

The shelter also helps transports pets off island to forever homes, through a program called “Paws from Paradise.” It’s clear that this takes a team. From transporting the animals to the airport, getting them on the plane, coordinating who will pick up the pets once stateside, etc. This is all costs money and Denise encourages anyone who does not have the time to volunteer to think about sponsoring a Paws from Paradise flight.

Denise said that in 2018, the shelter was able to help adopt out 1,000 animals here in St. Croix and nearly 800 animals were sent off island to forever homes. Denise said that adopting a pet is a commitment. “Talk to an adoptions counselor, determine what kind of animal fits your needs and lifestyle. Yes, it’s a commitment but also wonderful.”

The shelter also tries to promote the importance of spaying and neutering your pet. “We provide pop up tents with low care medical treatment and even will do house calls.”

Whether you are ready to adopt or looking to volunteer your time, make sure you check out the shelter’s website here.  If you’re not already following them on Facebook, you can do so here!

We hope to see everyone at Leatherback this weekend for “Barks and Brews” supporting the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center!