“Presents for Paws” founder Caitlin Wilson says her project is based on the concept of Toys for Tots, except the object is to provide comfort and necessities for animals in Albany and Lee County humane shelters. Donation boxes have been placed in a number of area businesses for gifts of pet food, dinner bowls, blankets, beds or toys.
ALBANY, Ga. -- Recipients won't be roasting chestnuts on an open fire or recovering from an awesome feast this Christmas, but maybe a few of man's best friends -- and the other guys, the cats -- will at least have a cozy place to sleep and something to occupy their time.
Asked if she loves animals, Caitlin Wilson laughs and calls it an understatement. She owns a rescued shih tzu/Pekingese named Henry, who shares his realm with Samson, an 80-pound Lab, and Louis the dachshund. But it wouldn't be a true menagerie without Maxwell the rabbit or the pot-bellied pig named Rudy.
For the last three months or so, Wilson has spearheaded "Presents for Paws," an effort toward providing animals at the Albany Humane Society and Lee County Animal Shelter with needed food, food bowls, beds, treats and toys.
"It's based on the Toys for Tots program, except this is to make Christmas a little better for the animals," Wilson said.
Wilson said her initial effort was directed toward her friends on Facebook. The overwhelming support she found there persuaded her to try a little harder, she said, so she found a few obliging businesses and set up decorated cardboard boxes for pet lovers to fill.
Wilson said today is the last opportunity to contribute before the boxes are collected for donation. Presents for Paws contribution drop boxes can be found at Pet Supermarket, 2500 Dawson Road; Tractor Supply, 2761 Ledo Road; Bennett's Feed & Seed, 2803 Wilmar Lane; Ivey's Outdoor & Farm Supply, 108 North Westover Blvd.; Hot Headz Salon, 109A Branchview Road in Lee County, and Alice and Jay, 109 Main Street in Sasser.
Wilson is assisted in her efforts by three of her friends from high school: Pamela Lash, who, according to Wilson, "knows a lot about fundraising;" Brittany Wingate, a general supporter of the cause, and Ashley Wynn Morey, a huge supporter who actually found a bargain batch of 30 blankets at a Black Friday sale and donated them to the drive.