Rescue cat, Joey, is missing a paw and a large part of his tail – and being nursed to health by a team of special needs volunteers from AHRC Nassau at the Pets4Luv Foundation in Westbury.
Best friends, AHRC Nassau community habilitation workers and seasoned Pets4Luv volunteer leaders, Tracy Mazzaro and Jeanette Badger, share their love of working with wounded, ill or special needs animals side by side the people they support with developmental disabilities.
Supporting adults with developmental disabilities to achieve these responsibilities and fulfill their daily goals is Tracy Mazzaro and Jeanette Badger’s main focus as community habilitation professionals.
As a result, they’ve seen an increase in confidence, joy and skills.
“Pets4Luv is a big part of my life and has become important to Donna,” said Tracy, who supports Donna Nowakoski. “Donna had the chance to go to a barbeque on Labor Day but instead said she wanted to come to the rescue.”
Assisting Donna to voice her thoughts and concerns are an important part of Tracy’s work as a comm hab worker, and the time spent at Pets4Luv has helped many of the people Tracy supports experience new feelings of self-assurance and leadership.
“It’s wonderful when a (typical) volunteer comes in, is a bit lost and one of our guys shows them the right way (to do things),” said Tracy. “Our guys are visible at the front desk, welcoming people who walk in and help with everything.”
For 87 cats and 2 dogs, Pets4Luv volunteers clean cages, feed animals, organize the stock room, walk and play with the animals, post open adoptions to social media, and deliver pets to their new homes, with the support of Tracy and Jeanette.
Pets4Luv Founder, Dave Bernacchi, can’t say enough positive things about the support of AHRC Nassau Volunteers.
“The men and women AHRC supports they’re here to learn and grow. They’re also committed and dependable,” said Dave. “The work they do is hard to put into words. I see it, how different the relationships of the AHRC volunteers are with the animals. It’s wonderful when you see the relationships develop bringing both the volunteers and the cats out of their shells.”
One moment, Jeanette might remind Dawn Mitchell to help a particular animal, in another agree that the windows may need another go over, and in the next tells a small joke causing Dawn to smile while they wash cat bowls or organize the pet supplies.
“Dawn has become a part of my family,” said Jeanette proudly, “Pets4Luv also welcomes people (we support) with open arms.”
Pets4Luv is completely staffed by volunteers and funded through donations. The nonprofit is currently looking and fundraising for a new venue in January. Volunteers are still welcome to support animals in Pets4Luv’s care and adoption efforts remain underway.
The shelter is a safe place for many. To ensure Pets4Luv is able to continue its important work, please visit Pet4Luv’s GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/pet-shelter-is-being-evictedsos