CNY SPCA offers animals new hope

Not everyone sees things as Puffer does. She said she's been accosted in the grocery store and called an animal killer for fulfilling that obligation.

"I can't stand to see them suffer," she said. "It's got to be done. I love animals too much. That's why I do it, but a lot of people don't understand that."

The dream

Instead of offering criticism, Puffer said she wished more people would try to help the shelter.

"We need so much," she said. "We always need blankets, good food, puppy and kitten formulas, office supplies, non-clumping cat litter, cat condos and scratching posts -- everything a well-dressed critter needs."

With spring approaching, shelter volunteers are also looking to put in a garden that potential adoptive families and animals can enjoy. Therefore, the CNY SPCA is also seeking donations of gardening equipment and landscaping supplies.

The shelter is dependent on financial donations and recently entered the Zoo Too Makeover contest, which puts it in the running for a $1 million makeover. Voting for the contest continues through March 31; for rules and more information, visit zootoo.com/makeover.

The makeover would give Puffer something she's love to see: a totally new facility.

"That would be the nuts," she said. "I dream of a new, state-of-the-art facility. I'd love to see a maternity area and a surgery center. That's what I really want."

Her ultimate goal, however, is one shared with other staffers: they'd like the CNY SPCA to go out of business.

"Everybody here has a dream that someday there will be no need for us anymore, or any other shelter for that matter," Puffer said.

In their efforts to accomplish that goal, shelter employees and volunteers keep plugging away, providing care for animals and education for people. But, as Puffer said, it's slow going.

"Sometimes I feel like a broken record," she said. "I keep telling people the same thing -- spay and neuter your pets. But that is the biggest way to control the overpopulation problem."

Puffer said she's not giving up yet.

"I think we do make a difference," she said. "We must be doing something right. I'm still here after 20-something years. I think that's pretty good."

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