FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – April was proclaimed Safe and Humane Fort Wayne month by Mayor Tom Henry and the City of Fort Wayne. To celebrate, citizens were encouraged to help Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control and Humane Fort Wayne by volunteering, fostering, donating, or adopting a pet. Although April has ended, local animal advocates hope the message resonates all year long.

To help showcase the message and its mission, WANE 15 introduces you to Dawn Heaven who has volunteered with Animal Care and Control for five years. She helps with transporting and fostering, and serves as a “welcomer” once a week when she greets people at the door and assists with potential adoptions.

Dawn Heaven and Pepper the cat

“It’s just love, it’s giving back. There is nothing better than seeing that animal get a good home,” said Heaven who added she has fostered too many animals to count. “I’ve seen animals come in here – like I said like those scared babies – that if we didn’t have foster homes they would be euthanized because they wouldn’t be able to go into a family. They just wouldn’t make it. And knowing that I’ve taken those babies and turned them into loving pets, it’s awesome.”

Abigail Reyes, the spokesperson for Animal Care and Control, says Heaven is a big asset to the agency.

“Knowing that there’s someone there who is positive and kind is a big representation of who we are as well, and I see her as part of us,” said Reyes. “Knowing she does what she does, it makes me believe that our community cares and our community wants to give back.”

Dawn Heaven tends to the shelter’s guinea pigs and bunny

Animal Care and Control currently has around 130 volunteers, but is always looking for more. Foster families are especially needed during the summer months.

You can go to Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control’s website to learn more about volunteer opportunities within the shelter and see what animals are up for adoption.

Humane Fort Wayne is another local shelter always looking for volunteers, donations, and loving families for animals. You can learn more about their needs by visiting their website.