Purple PAWS works to rescue homeless pets

After realizing how many animals were being euthanized in shelthers, Susan Clasen, founder of the Purple Power Animal Welfare Society, wanted to make a difference to all companion animals. Clasen created Purple PAWS as an organization with it's main purpose to saving the lives of homeless animals. Susan Clasen poses with a canine up for adoption at the Manhattan PETCO adoption event on Feb. 21, 2015. (Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

The Purple Power Animal Welfare Society, aka Purple PAWS, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals.

Susan Clasen, founder of Purple PAWS, has been working since December 2012 to rescue animals from being euthanized in overcrowded and high-kill shelters. According to Clasen, Purple PAWS believes all companion animals should have a home and euthanizing animals is not the way to fix the issue of pet overpopulation. The organization advocates promoting the adoption of homeless pets, spaying and neutering all pets and regulating breeders will fix this problem.

“So many homeless and absolutely adoptable animals are given up for no reason,” Clasen said.

Purple PAWS rescues animals from vet clinics and shelters around Kansas, including Abilene and Dodge City, as well as in Great Bend, Missouri and Oklahoma too. Not only are animals rescued from shelters, but are also taken in when previous owners can no longer keep them.

The organization’s ultimate goal, however, is to find these homeless animals a forever home that will replace their foster home; To Purple PAWS, shelters for animals are like a prison sentence.

“It’s very stressful; dogs don’t show themselves in shelters, you don’t know what you’re getting,” Clasen said. ” It’s really difficult to assess behavior in a shelter. In a foster home, you know what you’ve got.”

Sharon Smith, a volunteer for Purple PAWS, deals with most of the adoptions.

“We get a lot of applications either online or in the store,” Smith said. “We call two references and then a vet to make sure they haven’t abused or surrendered an animal in the past.”

Meg Vernon, treasurer for Purple Paws, helps foster some of the animals. She’s currently fostering two dogs, a mother and daughter that came from a gassing shelter in Oklahoma. Although Vernon has been taking care of them, they will soon be adopted into a new family.

“It’s always hard, but if we were to keep them, then we can’t keep fostering,” Vernon said.

Purple Paws holds fundraisers to help raise money to care for the animals. All of the money raised goes towards caring for homeless animals; most of the expenses are for veterinary care. In the two years that Purple Paws has been rescuing dogs, it has saved the lives of almost 300 dogs.

Purple PAWS also works hand and hand with Cattails, a nonprofit cat rescue organization that works to foster homeless cats until they can find a forever home.