Barbara Ward-Windgassen founded Anthem Pets in 2005 to help pets find their forever homes.
She invested everything she could, and, with the help and generosity of the community, Anthem Pets has become a successful volunteer rescue with many years of valued and trusted service in Anthem.
Pet lovers flock to Anthem Pets events and the same is expected for its cat adoption day at Sonoran Desert Pet Resort in Anthem from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 27. It will be socially distanced.
Anthem Pets will also participate in a Goodwill Donation Drive to raise money for the rescue on Saturday, April 17. Items must be dropped off between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Goodwill Retail Store in Anthem and donors should mention Anthem Pets.
Anthem Pets is also hoping to raise money through Arizona Gives Day, a 24-hour marathon of online giving to Arizona nonprofits. The day is an opportunity to replenish Anthem Pets’ veterinary fund through donations and cash prizes.
“We take in approximately 1,000 animals a year,” said Adam Raley, Anthem Pets president.
“With Arizona Gives, most of our money raised will be used for vet bills. Kitten season is also starting, and we take in a few hundred kittens in the span of three to four months, so the money will be gone before it even comes in.”
The organization also works with companies for employee giving pages. Email Raley at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options.
Anthem Pets covers Anthem, Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Norte, Anthem Parkside, Anthem Country Club and Tramonto south to Dove Valley.
Ward-Windgassen died in 2013, but her legacy continues. She worked with Pulte/Del Webb to add a dog park to their community. She asked the Anthem Community Council for a small piece of land on which to establish the park. When it didn’t work out, Ward-Windgassen and her supporters built a dog park just a few miles north of Anthem.
Anthem Pets handles lost and found, litters or fosters needing homes. They reunite lost pets with their rightful owners through the use of a pet hotline and a very active Facebook page.
“Last year alone, we reunited probably 300 animals with their owners and did about 500 adoptions,” said Adam Raley, Anthem Pets president.
“It’s all about raising money and raising awareness for animal welfare, and obviously just giving them the best care they need and finding the perfect home.”
During the recession in 2008, Ward-Windgassen and her team rescued, fostered and placed dogs and cats who were abandoned by homeowners who left their mortgages behind.
Volunteers are key to the organization. Ward-Windgassen held volunteers to their pledge, and they helped her arrange periodic low-cost shot clinics and other vet services. She also persuaded retailers to regularly donate pet food that she and volunteers then repackage and leave at the doorstep of pet owners in need.
Volunteers also provide medical care for abandoned and abused animals, many of whom need qualified and loving homes.