Niagara Gazette

Features

March 25, 2014

Heart of Niagara: Dogged rescuers

Ladies of Heart of Niagara are best friends to the underdogs (and cats)

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

Their fundraising efforts are due in part to the 30-year sales and marketing career of van Harssel of Lewiston. A recent fundraising event, A Taste of the Niagara Region, netted about $10,000.

The group recently received a nod of approval from pet-supply retailer Petco, which awarded Heart of Niagara a $900 grant for behavioral training instruction for the rescued dogs. The grant came through the efforts of Kwiatkowski, a retired teacher from Lockport, who brought her grant-writing experience to the mix.

“You see a problem and you try to be a solution to the problem and that’s what I think we’re trying to do,” she said. 

Kathy Nowakowski of Niagara Falls is the managing director.  Her “superpower” is her business acumen. A retired motel owner, she has researched why some animal rescue groups don’t succeed, and it seems to be because they don’t treat the their efforts like a business. 

“They get too emotional, and all the rules fly out the window,” Nowakowski said of rescue groups that fail. “The secret is not to get overextended. Don’t take in so many animals you can’t afford their care.”

Fundraising, she added, is a major part of being a nonprofit. 

“If you’re not the kind of person who likes to ask for money, you’re in trouble,” she added. “You have to be able to fundraise.”

While each woman commends the work of the SPCA of Niagara, they say they can do things that the agency cannot due to its civic contracts to take all abandoned animals. (Which leaves the shelter with many more pit bulls than other breeds.) Heart of Niagara has a waiting list for those who wish to own certain breeds less available at local public shelters, from poodles to beagles to great danes.

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