The kindness of one local teen will be felt in the hearts of many animals this holiday season.
Bailey Parson, 13, made a special request this year when she was asked what she wanted for her birthday. She decided to ask her friends and family for dog and cat food donations for Furever Paws and Claws Rescue.
The rescue is foster based, meaning there is no shelter that houses the animals, however they do work with the Fredericktown Police Department and Midwest Community Cat Alliance (MCCA) to help with shelters when needed.
"We work closely with the Fredericktown Police Department to ensure the dogs are either returned to their owners, adopted or transferred to a wonderful no-kill shelter," Founder Charlet Pense said. "We are very fortunate that Chief (Eric) Hovis and his officers are committed to providing Fredericktown with a no-kill shelter."
Pense said the organization also works with the Madison County Sheriff's Department and looks after animals in the county that have been abandoned, lost or neglected.
"Midwest Community Cat Alliance ensures that the cats at the pound are taken care of and adopted or sent to no kill rescues," Pense said. "MCCA states that approximately 50 cats have come through the pound this year."
Pense said MCCA goes above and beyond to ensure the cats are provided with the best opportunity at a wonderful life and has even sent cats from Fredericktown to Kansas and some will go to Montana in November.
Parson learned of the organization during an adoption event at Buchhiet a few years ago and later began to follow them on Facebook.
"I want to help them all," Parson said. "I would give up half my room to have more pets. I hope others will see what I did and want to do the same."
Parson currently has five pets, a shepherd mix named "Dove," a poodle named "Tinkerbell," two cats named "Thunder" and "Lightening" and a rabbit name "Bacca."
Parson said she has always loved animals and is currently trying to talk her mom, Teresa Parson, into letting her foster animals through Furever Paws and Claws.
"We were very touched by Bailey's big heart and desire to help the rescue," Pense said. "She donated a car full of food and treats for the rescue. She also expressed a desire to help in the future."
Pense said they have met many animal lovers during the four years they have been doing the rescue and there is always something everyone can do to help the animal population.
"The most important thing is please have your pets spayed and neutered," Pense said. "That one thing alone will save thousands of lives."
Furever Paws and Claws Rescue is a not for profit located in Madison County. It began Dec. 9, 2014 and accepted its first dog Dec. 31.
"Since then we have rescued over 1,300 dogs and cats from Madison County," Pense said. "We have rescued 218 dogs and over 200 cats this year alone. Along the way we have also rescued a pig, chicken, several rabbits and some birds."
One particular dog has a lot to be grateful for when it comes to Furever Paws and Claws Rescue. "Annie" came to them from another rescue and was suffering from malnourishment, heart worms and was going blind in one eye.
"She was with another rescue that basically placed her and her puppies in Madison County with a foster," Pense said. "Once her puppies were weaned the puppies were taken and Annie was left and forgotten."
Pense said as soon as Furever Paws and Claws Rescue was contacted Annie was immediately transferred to their care.
"Upon taking her to the vet, she was diagnosed very malnourished and heartworm positive," Pense said. "With the help of Dr. Falch and the awesome staff at Fredericktown Animal Hospital, Annie is improving everyday and will be taken care of throughout her treatment."
Pense said the rescue was a life long dream of Rita Lamb and herself. The two met in 1999 working for the Fredericktown R-I School District and often spoke of their love for animals and their desire to start the rescue.
Furever Paws and Claws relies solely on donations like Bailey's and they fund raise all year long in order to run the rescue.
Pense said all donations are greatly appreciated and they are also in need of volunteers to be fosters for the animals as well as transporters to take the animals to the shelters.
The heart of one child, Parson, has already opened the hearts of many more. When Bailey's soccer coach, April Sarakas, heard of her mission she asked both the teams she coaches, Fredericktown Force Tournament Soccer Team and 14u Tross Softball Team if they would like to donate and more donations are expected.
Donations to Furever Paws and Claws Rescue can be mailed to 1088 Madison 228, Fredericktown or taken to the Fredericktown Animal Hospital.
For help with an abandoned, lost or neglected animal or to volunteer with Furever Paws and Claws Rescue reach out to them on Facebook.