EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WAND) — Finding an animal's forever home is often love at first sight, first kiss or just first tail wag.
But that forever home needs supplies — something many new pet owners don't have sitting around when they adopt.
"We went to pick up [our two new dogs] and they were like 'hey, are you ready to take them home?'" said Paws for a Cause founder Harley Harris. "We realized we didn't have the items we needed."
Harris' experience adopting her two senior dogs led her to create Paws for a Cause. The organization assembles basic care kits for new pet owners to pick up the minute they sign the paperwork at any Effingham County shelter.
"Harley's organization helps those families to have what they need for the first night," said Heather Mumma of the Effingham County Animal Shelter and Control.
Harris partnered with all three local shelters — animal control, E.A.R.S. and the Effingham County Humane Society — giving them basic care kids for dogs and cats in addition to more publicity.
"Paws for a Cause has been great about going out, going with us," said Kathy Utz of E.A.R.S. "The extra marketing is wonderful."
But the most important thing continues to be clearing the shelters — so every dog and cat can feel the love.
"Everybody is smiling as they go out the door," said humane society president Mark Clineff. "Whether it's a kitten, a cat [or] a dog, everybody is happy."
"It's beneficial for everyone," Harris said. "They help me. I help them and it's good for the community all around."
Harris funds the care kits from donations and out of her own pocket. To donate money or supplies, contact Paws for a Cause through its Facebook page.
To contact Effingham County Animal Shelter and Control: reach out via Facebook or visit the shelter in person at 701 E Eiche Avenue, Effingham, Illinois 62401.
To contact the Effingham County Humane Society: reach out via Facebook or visit the shelter in person at 12073 N 1000th Road, Effingham, Illinois 62401.