Today marks National Pet Day, a day to celebrate companionship. But, there are many animals out there with no place to call home.

Oftentimes, pets that land in the pound and are unclaimed after three days have no other place to go.

In the area, shelters are nearly always full.

A group of women in Minot is making it their mission to work directly with the pound to get pets to a safe place. However, these dedicated volunteers need more help.

“There’s a lot of cats,” Julie Witter, director of Hairball Haven, stressed.

Lots of cats that need homes, and Hairball Haven is a nonprofit that plays a major role in finding those homes.

“We don’t have a facility, it’s all foster based which is why we’re begging for fosters because we can only take in what we have room for,” said Natalie Davy, a veterinary tech and Julie’s partner for Hairball Haven.

Hairball Haven is able to exist through partnerships with the pound, Petco Foundation, and others who step up to foster and eventually adopt.

And the cats just keep on coming.

“It totally varies. It’s a revolving door,” they said.

Julie currently has 24 foster cats in her home. She even has a ‘kitten haven’ that was designed and built by a local Boy Scout.

All cats that go to Hairball Haven are fixed to avoid reproduction by feral or stray cats.

That’s Natalie’s role. As a veterinary technician, she facilitates spay and neuter procedures by local vets and she keeps track of the animals’ health.

“Why do you do what you do?”
“My sister recently asked me what makes me happy,” Natalie said. “And you know, being on a boat in the middle of the lake drinking a beer is my happiness, but also, rescuing cats. Nothing makes you feel better than changing the life of some cat that got kicked out for no reason.”

Jackie Jensen – who Julie refers to as ‘JJ K9 rescue’ – has been working with animal control for about 10 years doing the same thing as Hairball Haven, but for dogs.

“I’ve pulled hundreds of dogs out of the pound,” she said. “I quit counting after about three years.”

Because a lot of local rescues are full, she works with nonprofit, foster-based, rescues in Minnesota or other parts of the state.

The goal is to get the dogs out of the pound and ready to be pets again.

She said, “There are good dogs that are at the pound that nobody claims so I had to get them out of there so they wouldn’t be euthanized.”

The work these ladies do has saved hundreds of animals. With some help, they can save more.

You can volunteer to foster and transport the animals to their future home, just contact Hairball Haven or Jackie Jensen on Facebook.