AC Pup: Let your light shine

May 25, 2013 

I believe everybody is capable of doing something to help animals in need even if they can’t adopt, foster, volunteer or make a donation. I know there are kind souls out there with a heart for homeless animals who want to help in some way but are just not sure how.

Maybe you have too many pets so you can’t adopt. Maybe you don’t have space in your home to foster. Maybe you don’t have time to volunteer or maybe the economy has been too difficult for you to make a donation.

Besides having your business or group join CARES Homeless Pet Club to help find homes for pets, did you know there is probably something else you can do? It just takes a little creative thinking.

One such remarkable lady did that. Her name is Miss Andrea Tholen, and she’s proof that one candle can cast a bright light. Miss Andrea, who is from Connecticut, came to Middle Georgia as a probation officer for Sentinel Offender Services, a private probation company for Houston County State Court. Lucky for all of us, Miss Andrea, her boss Mr. Shawn Carter and the other employees with Sentinel Offender Services are animal lovers.

As Miss Andrea began to call Middle Georgia home, she learned about the overcrowded animal shelters, the numerous nonprofit rescue groups filled to capacity and the generous fosters who care for homeless pets usually at their own expense. It didn’t take long to wonder how these animal organizations could possibly afford to feed the never-ending parade of animals in our area.

That’s when she decided to do something to help.

Last November Miss Andrea, with the support of her boss and her entire company, devised a plan to enlist the participation of the offenders with whom they work to provide food for the local shelters and rescue groups. The plan allows the offenders to offset their court-ordered community service hours by providing dog and cat food for the local groups.

The offenders are still required to complete their hours through physical work but they may supplement them through the donation of pet food. They are granted certain credit based on the pounds of food donated as determined by a formula Miss Andrea created.

And not just any pet food is accepted. They may only purchase high-quality pet food selected from an approved list provided by the plan.

Since last December, 50,000 pounds of pet food have been donated to local shelters and rescue groups through this program. Although this program is currently being conducted in Houston County, the hope is that more courts throughout Georgia and beyond will participate.

It warms my heart when people help vulnerable animals. Thank you, Miss Andrea!

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