December 14, 2017
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  • Jennifer Haber (right), adoption coordinator for Maryland Animal Sanctuary, and her foster dog Kiwi accepted their Volunteer of the Month Award from Voice Assistant Editor Zach Sparks.
    Photo by Dylan Roche
    Jennifer Haber (right), adoption coordinator for Maryland Animal Sanctuary, and her foster dog Kiwi accepted their Volunteer of the Month Award from Voice Assistant Editor Zach Sparks.

Haber Opens Her Homes To Animals In Need

Dylan Roche
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December 5, 2017

When Jennifer Haber logged onto www.petfinder.com 10 years ago with the hope of finding a dog to foster, she had no way of anticipating how much her life would change by opening up her household to furry, four-legged tenants waiting to find their forever homes. She connected with Mary Snyder, founder of Maryland Animal Sanctuary and Rescue (MAS), which was then what Haber described as a one-woman operation. “I had to beg her to let me foster,” Haber said. “I know why — rescue work is insanely time consuming and there is a lot of heart involved. … A lot of people think there’s something wrong with the dog or cat that ends up at the shelter, but I’ve fostered over 600 animals, and we’ve found homes for every single one of them.”

Of those 600 animals Haber has fostered over the years, there have been 550 dogs, along with cats and even a few rabbits. MAS, she explained, takes on any and all breeds from shelters both local and nationwide, all of whom have been in danger of being euthanized. “It’s an endless flow, unfortunately,” she said. “As much as we love their company, we’d love to get to a point where there are no longer animals in need.”

During their time in a volunteer foster home through MAS, the animals undergo training, socialization and veterinary care so that they can eventually be adopted. In addition to fostering animals — usually two or three dogs at a time — Haber serves as the adoption coordinator for MAS and processes all applications so that interested adoptive parents can be matched with the animal that is right for them. Each application requires careful consideration. “It’s incredibly time consuming, but I never want to get it wrong,” she said. “With every animal, I want to get it right.”

While the furry charges are in their care, volunteers work to get to know everything that might be of benefit to interested adopters. In the case of Kiwi, the female husky-beagle mix Haber is currently fostering, there are many positives. “I know she’s great with everyone, great in the car; I know she’s great on a leash; I know she’s great with my cats and dogs; I know she’s crate trained,” she said. “Sometimes, if they require more rehabilitation — and believe me, we do get some that do — we can do more training. With most issues, I can work with them myself. With a lot of them, it’s a matter of settling in and realizing people are nice.”

MAS brings twofold rewards for volunteers like Haber. First, there’s the satisfaction of offering love and trust to an animal that has not known it before. “I get to have this constant flow of animals that I get to love and see them go to their happily ever after,” she said.

The other rewarding part is seeing the people who are adopting the animals take such joy in completing their families. “But I give the dogs and cats credit for that,” Haber said.

Although she dedicates about 20 or 30 hours a week to MAS, Haber still maintains a job as a lawyer and parents two teenage kids. She even finds time and energy to dedicate to other volunteer causes, predominantly the women’s activist group WISE (Women Indivisible Strong Effective). “What we want to do is find roads to link people together to work toward common goals,” she said. “Not everybody can sign on to every issue, but lots of us can agree on many issues.”

She also serves on the board of Good Neighbors Group. “It sounds clichéd, but you gain so much by giving, so Good Neighbors Group is about linking those in need and resources needed,” she explained.

She encourages those interested in learning more about any of the volunteer projects she’s involved with to visit their respective websites at www.masrescue.org, www.marylandwisewomen.com or www.goodneighborsgroup.org. There are volunteer roles with any of the organizations no matter how much time a person has to give. “It’s a matter of taking that first step, and that first step is available everywhere you look,” she said. “Everybody can do something.”


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