By Janet C. Wetzel
GREEN TOWNSHIP - Paula and William Schuman share an undying passion for helping animals.
At least once a week, they spend an evening at Save the Animals Foundation on Red Bank Road, which houses some 550 cats and 60 dogs. They exercise, brush, feed, clean and socialize the dogs.
"This is an amazingly rewarding thing to do," Mrs. Schuman said. "I think we get a lot more out of this than the dogs do."
The Schumans' involvement began more than six years ago. Mrs. Schuman made an instant decision when a co-worker told her about the shelter and how it needed more volunteers.
And it didn't take long for her enthusiasm to rub off.
"For the first year Paula volunteered, I played softball on the nights she went to the shelter," Mr. Schuman said. "But she got me to go with her once ... Now I can't imagine not doing this.''
Mrs. Schuman, a senior research assistant, is on several shelter committees, including the one for adoptions. She's also the assistant volunteer coordinator and helps train new volunteers.
Mr. Schuman, a director of entertainment-market development, helps her with adoptions.
Finding good homes is not always easy, especially for larger dogs, which can stay at the shelter for years. Smaller ones usually get homes in a month or two.
"Some large ones have been there since I began,'' she said. "It's just so sad. That's why this is a priority."
So much so that the Schumans added two of the shelter's mixed-breed dogs to their family.
The shelter, founded in 1988, is funded solely through private donations and fund raisers, including bi-weekly bingo sessions. It's operated totally by the estimated 250 volunteers, said Elizabeth Skufca, a shelter board member.
"(The Schumans) just always go above and beyond," she said. "They just don't say no.''
To volunteer at the shelter or learn how to adopt an animal, visit www.staf.org.
Do you know a Hometown Hero...someone in your community dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to (513)-755-4150.
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