What if, instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on designer dogs, everyone in this country adopted pets that desperately need homes? What a wonderful world it would be.
Cindy Andrew has taken on the challenge of helping orphaned pets find their forever homes. Through her work with Heartland German Shepherd Rescue (HUGS), Cindy provides foster care for dogs while also volunteering in an administrative role by processing applications for prospective adoptive families. HUGS is a 501c3 nonprofit, launched in May of 2015, dedicated to saving and rehoming German Shepherds and German Shepherd mix dogs.
Fostering and application processing are only two of the roles required at HUGS. Among other things, volunteers also coordinate veterinary exams, they interview applicants and conduct background checks on prospective families.
Cindy fostered her first dog in February of this year and adopted one herself. Sissy came to Cindy’s home waiting for a family to find and accept her. “Sissy came from South Dakota running around on a reservation. Many of our dogs, including my current pups, came from there. Another volunteer group finds and traps the dogs, but they aren't able to find them homes. That's where we come in and make several trips to Valentine to save them. Without us, many of them would starve, or freeze to death.” Within two months, Cindy knew she couldn’t let Sissy go. Sissy’s story is one of many wherein innocent animals are found abandoned, dropped off at a shelter, or taken by police due to abuse or neglect. The more fortunate ones find their way to an agency like HUGS where people are willing to welcome them into their homes, care for them, and prepare them for their forever family. “We treat dogs like they are our kids. They are so well taken care of. We want the dogs placed in forever homes so we do everything possible to place the right dog in the right home so everyone will be happy,” she said.
Growing up around her grandpa’s German Shepherds, Cindy always had a love of dogs and was notorious for constantly bringing home strays. She’s also been known to stop in the middle of intersections to save dogs from traffic dangers. Naturally, she would eventually turn that love of dogs into a volunteer experience. Her career as a realtor with Nebraska Realty meshes well with her volunteer work as she spends time in both spaces helping others find homes. Though she began her career in television as a news reporter, Cindy found her true happiness and helpfulness in real estate. Cindy is proud of the progressive technology tools Nebraska Realty provides the agents, and at no charge. Speaking about Nebraska Realty owner, Andy Alloway, Cindy said, “Andy is a genuinely nice and caring person who treats all the agents here very well. With so many agents coming to us from other agencies, why would I go anywhere else?” Cindy commits a portion of her profits from each house sold to be donated to HUGS to help with caring for the dogs. She gives $200-$1,000 depending on the price of the home.
HUGS conducts events throughout the community for adoptions and fundraising. At one public event held at Nebraska Realty, lunch was grilled in the parking lot, while realtors came and brought along househunting clients that were looking for pets. A dog was adopted that day. Cindy encourages everyone to first consider adopting when looking for a pet. “Get dogs from rescue groups or the Humane Society before you do anything else. Rescues and the Humane Society have purebreds, too.”
HUGS Facebook Page
Nebraska Humane Society Facebook Page