Michelle Lewis, president of LaMa Animal Rescue and Support Services, came full circle when she visited some of the northern rescue partners in Massachusetts and Maine last week.
These partners provide a refuge and new life for the abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats of Webster Parish and surrounding areas.
The name LaMa represents a Louisiana-Massachusetts partnership founded in 2019 by Michelle Lewis of Springhill, La.and Staci Sleeper Colby of Westborough, Mass. Since that time, more than 1,500 dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens have been rescued, vetted, fostered, and transported for adoption to Massachusetts, Maine, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
“In 2022, more than 700 were transported, and to date in 2023, more than 300 have been sent to their forever homes,” Lewis said. “LaMa Rescue fostered and arranged transport for 101 dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies just within the past two weeks.”
When Lewis was invited to the annual “Paws in the Park” fundraiser and adoption event in Sudbury, Mass. held on May 7, she jumped at the chance to attend, used her own personal funds, and made it happen. Since co-founding the rescue, she has worked tirelessly to coordinate the rescue, vetting, fostering and transports for the homeless dogs and cats of this area, yet she had not met her co-founder nor any of the rescue partners in person.
“This trip was a chance to come full circle and see the results of the efforts of LaMa Rescue and fosters who dedicate their time and open their homes to save the unwanted animals in our area,” Lewis said.
She was able to coordinate site visits with her partner rescues in Maine and Massachusetts, as well as attend the event where she reunited with 35 LaMa dogs that are now in forever homes, loved and treated like family. The face-to-face reunion was phenomenal, with tears of joy and endless expressions of gratitude and appreciation for the work of LaMa Rescue.
“The impact of the stories and love and adoration for the adopted animals from LaMa was nothing less than amazing,” Lewis said.
One of the heart-warming reunions was the story of Spot. One morning in 2022, Lewis was notified that Spot was an owner surrender for euthanasia. Though she was recovering from surgery, she immediately contacted the local veterinarian office and tagged Spot for LaMa Rescue.
“Spot was heartworm positive and there was no foster space available for him at the time, so he was boarded at a local facility and began treatment for heartworms,” Lewis said. “Spot was placed with a foster during his treatment, but more than a year passed before he was heartworm negative and able to transport to one of the partner rescues.”
The reunion was glorious when Lewis saw Spot again on Sunday afternoon, healthy, happy and adored by his new family. The smiles and hugs and tears of joy were seemingly endless, making the circle of love and rescue complete. Every reunion that day was equally emotional and heart-warming.
LaMa Rescue is a foster-based rescue, funded by donations and fund-raisers. LaMa serves the community not only by taking in the homeless pets, but also by providing spay-neuter at no cost and free vaccination clinics throughout the year.
“LaMa is critically low on funds, with more than 100 dogs and cats in foster and boarding, many of whom are receiving ongoing heartworm treatment and medical care,” said Lewis. “The need for additional foster homes and supplies is vital for the work of LaMa Rescue to continue.”
There are many ways to help. Please visit the website @LaMaAnimalRescue.org and follow on Facebook.