In 2006, a group of citizens in Hertford County, N.C. came to the realization that if anything were ever to be done about the grim circumstances facing the homeless, abandoned, and abused animals of the community, someone would have to step up to the plate. Just wishing and hoping that somehow things would improve would not create the change they longed for. It was time for action. This small band of volunteers began meeting and planning to take on a colossal challenge. The dream of many people for many years began taking shape. A community humane society was born.
Soon PAWS of Hertford County was organized, incorporated, and ready to begin making a difference. After being granted permission from the Hertford County Commissioners to begin work in the county shelter, the new organization established three main goals for the near future: to begin a responsible adoption program, to improve conditions at the shelter, and to increase the spaying and neutering of cats and dogs across the county. At times the challenges seemed insurmountable. The first PAWS volunteers faced down situations that no animal lover should ever have to witness. There were many tears and sleepless nights. But they persevered with grit, determination, and courage. They did not give up.
Ten years later, PAWS of Hertford County has not only met these goals, it has exceeded them beyond the wildest dreams of the original founders. Thousands of cats and dogs who would have faced certain death without the intervention of PAWS are now living in wonderful homes with proud owners all over the community, and from Kitty Hawk to Charlotte, New Jersey to South Carolina. The spay/neuter program has resulted in hundreds of animals who are not adding to the problem of pet overpopulation. The shelter facility has been improved and expanded to create housing for cats and dogs that greatly improves their quality of life during their shelter stay. PAWS volunteers are familiar faces in local schools, educating children about the importance of kindness, empathy, and responsibility, offering hope for a more humane future for animals and humans alike.
With the support of the community, the mission of PAWS continues, the work goes on, and the cause endures. PAWS of Hertford County has become a point of pride for the community, a community that can finally live up to the ideals of a civilized society, one that shows compassion for all living things, great or small.
“Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”