For these local organizations, years of hard work and teamwork have provided the opportunity to serve people through their pets. Though they offer different services, both have the common interest of working with animals to make a difference in the lives of local people.
Crazy about cats
Wendy Mirrotto believes her personal mission is to address the issue of cat overpopulation. When Mirrotto founded her nonprofit cat shelter, Kitten Krazy, twelve years ago, she never expected that she would touch the lives of thousands of local families.
“People are our focus, and cats are our passion,” says Mirrotto. “We enhance people’s lives through the animals we serve. And since we first started in my backyard twelve years ago, we have found homes for over 4,000 cats and kittens.”
Cat overpopulation is a problem that has grown out of cat owners choosing against spaying or neutering their pet, she explains. With mature female cats birthing up to two litters of four to six kittens per year, there exists an abundance of stray cats and kittens in need of homes.
Kitten Krazy was founded to directly address this issue. After their first seven years of operation, Mirrotto and her team of volunteers decided to open a nonprofit spay/neuter clinic to further address the growing population of strays.
Since 2011, a team of 16 employees has fixed over 13,000 cats and dogs at Kitten Krazy’s Quick Fix Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic. Mirrotto says that both the clinic and the shelter are in a constant state of growth.
“I always say it is grow or go for us,” she says. She explains that all shelters only have so much space for pets, and that it is impossible to provide space for all of the cats that are surrendered by their owners.
“It is so sad to have to turn away cats in need. That’s the worst part of my job. It is so critical to spread the message of why people should spay and neuter their pets. We have just under 100 adoptable cats on our premises, but a lot of other shelters are much more crowded.”
Yet with every cat that comes in, Mirrotto is given the opportunity to impact another life.
Kitten Krazy is run by a team of over 70 volunteers. Many of them are “junior volunteers,” children over eight years old that are able to volunteer with the assistance of a chaperone—an opportunity that most animals shelters do not offer.
“It’s a big deal to young people looking to make a difference in the lives of animals,” says Mirrotto.
Another group that is provided volunteering opportunities is the inmates at local prisons, who can foster kittens up to eight weeks old.
“It is extremely therapeutic,” Mirrotto says. “Our kittens are able to touch the lives of those inmates and the families that adopt them down the road. Our kittens inspire our volunteers and the organizations that come through our facility on tours.
“It is not hard to make a difference in your community. I’m not anybody special. I do not have a college education. I just do what I love, and I love what I do.”
Doggie day care
Pam Voss had worked in a kennel in Sharon Center for 11 years when she saw the Medina Creative Pet Play building being constructed. When she learned that the building would soon be home to a Medina Creative Housing vocational program for individuals with special needs, she was hooked.
Due to her expertise, Voss joined the Medina Creative Pet Play team as manager. When the organization opened its doors in March of 2013, the workers, vocational students, and volunteers had no idea that they would outgrow the building.
“We started out serving only a few dogs at a given time,” says Voss. “But it just kept growing.”
In July, they moved into a new 5,000 square foot building, located just behind their former building off of Grande Blvd. in Medina. With nearly twice as much space, their services are better than ever. From doggie day care and boarding to grooming, the staff works hard to keep their two-legged and four-legged customers happy.
Voss describes Medina Creative Pet Play as a win-win for both the workers and the pets.
“I just love watching our workers accomplish things. It is amazing to equip people with the skills needed to go out and find future employment, and along the way I get to see their pride as their accomplishments increase in number and frequency. And the dogs? They just love the endless attention.”
Although it is not always an easy job, Voss loves spending her days at Medina Creative Pet Play.
“The best part is knowing that we provide a service to the community as well as to physically and mentally handicapped individuals that are looking for employment opportunities. And the staff is here for a reason—they really love animals. People want to know that their special pet is taken care of, and our passionate, caring staff is equipped with all the skills to go above and beyond in their caregiving.”