Adopting four-legged friends


Standard operating procedure for a Carmel City Council meeting includes a spotlight moment to feature an animal available for adoption from the Hamilton County Humane Society. Usually, it is Councilor Luci Snyder who holds up a glamour shot of a lovable, huggable, irresistible example of man’s best friend named Max, Buttons or Princess. The hope is someone in the audience or watching TV will fall in love and make Max and friends an offer which cannot be refused.

Carmelstudents Cameron Freeman, Baylee Burdick, Nick Backer, Elli and Emmy Goldstein must have watched a Council meeting or two because they have taken Ms. Snyder’s lead – and improved on it. Every Saturday from noon to 3p.m., these kids get together at the Merchants Square Petco to run a dog-and-cat-rescue adoption program. The results are amazing.

Yes, for more than a year, these dedicated kids have been giving up their Saturday afternoons to help Mary Helen Wilborn, Pals for Paws Inc. founder, save seven to nine rescued animals every week. The kids are devoted to saving animals which might otherwise be euthanized.

Cameron gets to the Petco early on Saturday and arranges all of the cages before Mary Helen gets there. Then, up to 30 dogs and 20 cats, with their big “puppy-dog eyes” and unconditional love, are ready to be adopted. The other kids throughout the afternoon are responsible to walk the dogs, clean cages and of course, encourage potential new pet owners.

Pals for Paws Inc. is a nonprofit animal rescue organization which has had great success placing pets in Carmel. “The people that come to Petco from the Carmel area turn out to be fantastic pet owners,” said Mary Helen. “The program has been very successful due to the generosity of the people in this area. I know the dogs and cats adopted will be loved for years to come.”  Pals for Paws Inc. is always in a constant struggle between animals that need care and limited resources.  Mary Helen can always use monetary donations, as well as old bedding, towels, crates and pet food. She has saved more than 10,000 animals during the 11 years her organization has been in existence.

We find beauty in the most incomprehensible places and the otherwise homely faces. It is our gift to see beyond the dirt, terror, sadness and defeat, and find the true soul that lies within. Call 765-454-8796, or visit


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