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Marlborough teen raises money for animal rescue

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Marlborough – 16-year-old Rachel Crittendon and her family held their second annual garage sale to benefit local animal rescue group Metrowest Animal Awareness Society (MAAS) July 17. Crittendon originally began working with MAAS as a way to fulfill the volunteer requirement of the Girl Scouts Silver Award.

“The Silver Award involves completing a 40- hour volunteer project that in some way benefits the community,” Crittendon said.

When she contacted Hudson resident and MAAS president Jocelyne Durrenberger in June 2008, they agreed that fostering was the best way Crittendon and her family could help the small group. Rachel’s parents agreed to try it with one litter of three orphaned kittens.

“Now we’ve fostered over 100 kittens,” Crittendon said. “I continued to foster because I like knowing that because of my family, more than 100 kittens have found good homes and a second chance at life. Fostering is a big part of my life now.”

Crittendon received the Mayor’s Youth Service Award in June 2009 and completed the Silver Award in September 2009.

Because MAAS does not have an animal shelter, foster homes like the Crittendons are essential to meet the group’s mission of taking in and “re-homing” strays and surrendered pets. The group has a network of foster homes that are mostly in the Marlborough and Hudson area. In addition to their Trap- Neuter-Release work, MAAS takes in and places more than 300 cats every year.

“My favorite part of fostering is winning a cat’s trust,” Crittendon said. “When we first get a cat, he or she is usually apprehensive. It takes a few days before the cat is comfortable. It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding.”

MAAS hosts “Meow Mixers” at the Hudson Petco two Saturdays a month as a way of finding potential adopters and raising awareness of the group. Rachel often volunteers at these events. She sets up crates, keeps an eye on how the cats are doing, talks with people about each cat and explains how the adoption process works.

“I enjoy meeting people at the Meow Mixers,” she said. “It’s fun to watch people pick their new cat. Some are people who have adopted from us in the past and it’s nice to hear how well the cats are doing in their new homes.”

Admittedly, the hardest part of fostering is giving a foster cat to an adopter after weeks spent caring for them. But by letting each one go, the foster family is making space available to take in another rescue.

“It’s hard not to get attached, but I know the cat is going to a great home,” Crittendon said.

The summer months are the most challenging for rescue groups. The time called “kitten season” starts in the spring and stretches well into the fall. In July and August, people are on vacation so adoptions are slow, and groups like MAAS are overflowing with kittens. The Crittendons hold their fund-raising garage sale during this time to supply extra money during this excessively busy time.

“Last year we raised $230 for MAAS. This year we raised more than $350,” Crittendon said.

Durrenberger reported that amount will pay for several spay surgeries, or more than 40 sets of vaccines.

Crittendon said that she became interested in pursuing a career as a veterinarian as a result of fostering with MAAS. She attended the Tufts University “Adventures in Veterinary Medicine” camp, a two-week program held on campus in Grafton. The camp includes classes, lectures and allows teens to shadow older students as they go through their hospital work.

“It showed us what being a vet is really like and gave us an inside look at the demands and rewards,” Crittendon said. “Fostering got me interested in being a vet. To me, fostering means taking in cats when they are at their worst and working with them until they reach their best.”

For more information about adoption, and to see available cats and kittens, go to www.metrowestaware.org.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=7614

Posted by on Jul 30 2010. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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