Daren Kizlin only has a goldfish and a turtle.
But he is happy to have the opportunity to help dogs and cats find homes.
Kizlin is part of the Fremont Masonic Lodge, which is planning a fundraiser for FurEver Home, Inc. this weekend.
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the lodge at 350 E. 23rd St.
In addition to free face painting, kids can pose with a kitten or puppy for a photo.
Pet products and services will be displayed in booths. FurEver Home volunteers will be on hand to answer questions, and several Masonic groups will be represented.
On the menu, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato soup and a cookie for dessert. Juice and water will also be provided.
All proceeds will go to FurEver Home, Inc. Donations of $10 from adults and $5 from children 12 and under will help cover the health and nutrition needs of rescue dogs and cats in need of more care than normal.
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Kizlin, a Fremont/Elkhorn York Rite Mason, has been involved with the Benevolent Fellowship for over 20 years.
“The key to enjoying being a member of the Masons,” Kizlin said, “is getting out of it what you put into it.”
Kizlin is constantly looking for ways to serve its community.
“I’m an animal lover,” he said. “I’ve always had pets.”
Currently, Kizlin has a goldfish and a turtle because he is away from home most of the time.
“I don’t think it would be right for me to have a dog,” Kizlin said. “I wouldn’t be home to give him enough attention.”
Still, Kizlin appreciates the chance to help find homes for the dogs and cats that are housed at FurEver Home Inc., 236 West Sixth St., in Fremont.
“I have wanted to support an animal rescue for many years, but until now the right opportunity has not presented itself,” he said.
Once he realized the time was right to fundraise for an animal rescue, Kizlin asked some Fremont residents what rescues were going on.
“FurEver Home Inc. was mentioned by all of them,” Kizlin said. “I contacted the organization and formed a relationship with Peg.”
Peg Gaudreau has been with FurEver Home Inc. for about five years.
“I started out volunteering five to six days a week, caring for dogs. I was retired and needed to fill a void,” she said.
Gaudreau eventually took on the role of Events and Fundraising Coordinator.
“Everyone at FurEver Home wears many hats,” Gaudreau said. “Everyone is stepping in to help in areas where we are understaffed. I believe that the FurEver Home team is like a family and I have made good friendships there.
Among the many benefits Gaudreau sees in working with rescue animals is when they have a frightened dog that is very defensive or withdrawn.
“We usually assign a small group of volunteers to work with that specific dog so they don’t get overwhelmed with all the strangers coming in,” Gaudreau said.
This small group is what Gaudreau calls the team assigned to this dog for walking, feeding and special care.
“The greatest treasure,” said Gaudreau, “is seeing this dog transform into a loving pet for someone. I can’t explain the feeling you get when this dog gets a FurEver home and that you see him release a happy, confident, transformed dog.
Gaudreau said they’ve all shed tears when a dog is adopted, but they’re tears of joy.
“That’s our job, to find them FurEver homes and loving families,” she said.
Every dog and cat brought to FurEver Home Inc. undergoes a thorough examination by Veterinary Technician Kelli Stuehmer. Then they are scheduled for sterilization or castration and rabies vaccines.
“We also microchip them, before they go to a new home,” Gaudreau said.
FurEver Home hosts a nail trimming and microchipping event, usually the first Saturday of each month.
Gaudreau was first drawn to FurEver Home Inc. because of efforts to prevent the euthanasia of animals.
“We aim to fill this world with a little more love than hate,” she said. “Touching a soul, human or animal, with a simple act of kindness, with its ripple effect, is the most amazing way to change the world.”
Organizations like FurEver Home Inc. cannot fulfill their mission without the compassion and generosity of a supportive community.
“Everyone involved in working with a pet shelter loves animals and shows such dedication,” Kizlin said. “The horrific stories you hear of neglected and abused animals are heartbreaking. This organization literally saves animals. It’s easy to want to support them.
Although FurEver Home Inc. has a contract with the city, circumstances arise where an animal needs more than the standard level of care.
“Sometimes the number of animals they take in is overwhelming,” Kizlin said. “They need our help as physical volunteers as well as our financial support.”
Saturday’s event will help provide much-needed support to FurEver Home, Inc. The relief team is grateful to Freemasons for organizing and hosting it.
“It will be a fun time for the whole family,” Kizlin said.
For more information about FurEver Home, Inc., contact: 402-979-8800 (voicemail only) or [email protected]