The Perfect Touch

          Everything that touches us or that we touch gets impacted, whether it is another human or an animal, and we react to those touches in different ways. Animals have a special touch in people’s lives and their foot prints can be tracked all throughout history. They have the ability to heal physically and emotionally, and in return we can help them. This essay is focused around three Non-Profit organizations that work with animals with that touch, PAWS With A Cause®, Carols Ferals, and the Equest Center.
          PAWS With A Cause’s Mission statement is, “Paws With A Cause® trains Assistance Dogs nationally for people with disabilities and provides lifetime team support which encourages independence. PAWS® promotes awareness through education” ( The way they fulfill this is by: breeding, and training the dogs to help their clients. These dogs are used as either: Service dogs, Guide dogs, Hearing dogs, Seizure response dogs, and even Service dogs for Autistic children. Jill Oosterbaan a client said, “It helps a lot with independence and the feelings of security. Your life can be a little more isolated so having a companion can mean a lot.”
          Now switching from dogs to cats, Carols Ferals website says, “Carol’s Ferals aims to assist outdoor dwelling cat caregivers with TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) services… and does limited adoption(s) of friendly cats and kittens” ( Carol Manos has helped out 67 cats in two years and she said, “Don’t screw around, get your cat fixed.” This organization is not only giving back to the cats by fixing them and finding them new homes, the cats are also giving back to the people. The feral cats help keep the rodent population down, and the friendly cats are good companions to their new owners.
          Not only are people giving back with cats and dogs but also with horses. The Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding's mission statement is, “We improve quality of life through equine-based therapy to physically, mentally and socially/emotionally challenged individuals. Our unique program integrates academic, social and physical skills, using the horse as a catalyst” ( Meg Moore a volunteer for eight year said, “It is the most awesome thing, I think I get more out of it then the riders… I have seen big improvements… I love it.” So the horses are not only giving back to their riders they are also giving back to the volunteers who in return help them.
          All of these organizations have their own niche in the animal field, but each have their own way of using it to help out people and to help out the animals, PAWS does this with their dogs, Carols Ferals with cats, and Equest with horses. These organizations are only a couple players in a huge arena, and even though they are not all featured they all deserve some respect for the hard work they do.

PAWS With A Cause
Morgan Longberg is watching her mother Kathee Longberg hold their new foster puppy Amos on Feb. 24th at PAWS. Ten puppies went to new foster homes that day and were all meet with excitement by their new families.

Julie Thorington the "National Foster Puppy Coordinator" is demonstrating to the new foster families how to work with their puppies. By getting the puppy used to laying on its back helps the clients when they need to groom the dogs in the future.

Daniel Moore works with his foster dog Kosmic at Woodland Mall on April 6.  PAWS brought their whole class to mall with dogs aging from puppies to a year old; they were working different skills while they wandered around. Kosmic is the Moore families third foster dog, the first two did not make it through the program and are now living with them, they have high hopes for Kosmic.

Jill Oosterbaan is working with Divvy, she has only had him for a few weeks and he is not an official assistance dog yet. She said Divvy is her third dog, and “makes a big difference, he picks up things I drop, he picks up the phone.”

Carols Ferals

This feral grey tabby is holding up the back up her cage on March 27 at Carols Ferals. This cat needs to be fixed, get shots, and have her ear tipped before she can be released back into her environment. Ear tipping lets people know the cat has been fixed so they do not re-trap them. Carol Manos, who founded Carols Ferals, said an easy way to tell a feral cat from a friendly one is ferals do not meow.

Carol Manos poses with Schwinn; a cat that was saved from certain death in a puddle in the middle of a bike trail, the picture on the computer is from when she was found. Even though Schwinn still struggles with some mental problems she is now perfectly happy and waiting to be adopted into a new home.

Eli is being held by Xandria Tatym, 12, the granddaughter of Eli’s owner Roxann Rentsman on March 27. Eli, once Tigger, was a special case adopted from Carols Ferals as an indoor-outdoor cat, she is now full time indoor and a constant companion to Rentsman whose husband is gone a lot because he is a trucker.

Manos is accepting money from Brandi Ackerman of Rockford, MI who paid the last of the $40 to let the “cat” in the cage out to be “fixed” at the Pet Expo held at the DeltaPlex on April 2. The sign above the cage says, “I’m Sarah. I’m a Feral Cat. I need to raise money for my surgery.” Once Sarah got out another person got in to raise another $40 to fix a feral cat, so far Manos had raised $200 dollars. Manos said this was her fourth Expo and she was there to educate people, raise money, and hopefully have a cat get adopted.

Equest Center

On the left Deb Knoihuiessen is bringing in Dakota while showing around Ashley Kester, on the right, who had just started as a volunteer on April 12 at Equest.

Katherine Scheffler, 7, is hugging Grizzly the pony she rides during her lessons. In the lessons she worked on strengthening her legs, trotting, and tried an obstacle with the horse.

Andrea Kuenzer is walking next to her son John Kuenzer who is ridding Jake on April 12 at the Equest center. John has been coming to Equest for almost 2 years, when he first started he was not able to raise his hand above his head. Andrea said her goal for John is to get his core strength back so he can stand alone with great balance, like he could before his accident. John said his goal is to go back to work again.

Keith Hovey is helping his mom Beth Hovey change her leg brace as she talks to Kelly Wujkowski on April 12 at the Equest center. Beth had once been in a leadership position at the Equest Center until her stroke 9 month ago, since then she has not been able to do her two favorite things, according to her son, play the piano and ride. It seems evident she will never play the piano again because she has no movement in one of her arms, but for the first time since her stroke she was able to get back on the horse and ride again. She described her ride as “wonderful,”  Keith said, “I pretty excited about it (his mom ridding again) and its neat she gets to do it here.”


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