Vicksburg City Animal Control had picked the dog up, and they called Leigh Conerly to see if she was interested in helping the Cocker Spaniel. Leigh and her friend Bobbie Galford rescued the dog, had him shaved, treated for heartworms, and the additional parasites he had contracted. His vet bills mounted, but they continued to pay for all of his treatments with their own money until he had fully recovered. They named the Cocker Spaniel “Morgan” after Leigh’s mom, Nancy Morgan, who helped start the Vicksburg-Warren County Humane Society in the early 70’s. Because of her mom’s influence, Leigh had been rescuing stray and injured animals since she was a child. Bobbie had been passionately involved in animal rescue efforts for more than 10 years at that time and had supported rescue efforts in every community where she lived. Another friend and animal lover, Debbie Freeman, who had also been a volunteer at the local shelter, joined them in their efforts.
Because there were so many animals like Morgan that needed help, Bobbie, Leigh and Debbie decided to start a small, no-kill pet rescue in July of 2004 that they named “Paws Rescue”. Over the next year, Paws Rescue became a 501(c)3 non-profit and a registered Mississippi charity. Their intent was, and still is, to rescue, rehabilitate, spay/neuter, and adopt out homeless dogs and cats to loving homes in the Vicksburg and Warren County area. Since 2004, Paws Rescue has successfully cared for hundreds of unwanted and abandoned stray cats and dogs. By our 10th Anniversary in 2014, we had vaccinated and spayed or neutered 2,870 cats and 939 dogs and had facilitated 915 adoptions.
Paws Rescue is composed of a small army of volunteers which includes the members of our Board of Directors. In addition, all of our rescued pets are housed in foster homes. Each year with the help of our volunteers and foster families, Paws Rescue has saved more animals than the year before which has significantly benefited the community. Paws Rescue continues to work towards the time when there are no more stray, abandoned, neglected or abused cats or dogs. And Morgan? He was adopted by a wonderful family and was the first of hundreds of “happily ever after stories” for Paws Rescue.
PAWS RESCUE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Leigh Conerly, President
Beth Hinson Whitehead, Vice President
Jeanne Simmons Kelley, Treasurer
Dedra Henley – Fundraising/Public Relations
Natalia Vinas – Secretary