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Animal shelter fills need for pets

A cat at the Headwaters Animal Shelter in Park Rapids waits to be adopted by a loving family.

Victoria Lutz, student writer

On visiting Headwaters Animal Shelter in Park Rapids, expect to be greeted by wagging tails and purring cats.

According to the Headwaters Animal Shelter Web site, the shelter is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for abandoned, surrendered, neglected, abused and stray animals.

"Right now we are home to 90 animals," said manager Rochel Hamp. "In a month we receive about 15 to 10 cats and the same amount of dogs, this is the average. We try to find homes for as many as we accept, so that we aren't overwhelmed by numbers."

The shelter has always been a haven for mistreated cats and dogs in desperate need of love and care; this is thanks to the community.

"The people in this community are very generous when it comes to fundraising and donations. They are what supports this shelter," Hamp said.

Currently there are 100 part time volunteers who give their time caring for the animals.

"I have been volunteering for close to eight years," said Trisha Matheny. "My family has fostered tons of animals, and we have kept five of them. Through volunteering I have met people, I love being there."

Aside from volunteers there are full time employees. Amanda Ondracek, a full time employee, has been working there since September.

"I'm very lucky," Ondracek said.

When working with animals it is hard not to get attached or have favorites.

"My favorite animals are Hobo the cat and Bam the dog. They have great personalities, and Hobo's just so big that you can really love on him and he wont mind," Ondracek said with a smile.

People with animal connections like these are what makes the shelter's future goals of building the program and continuing to help the community of Park Rapids attainable.