ARL volunteer Amberly “Tiny” Wittwer with Roxy, a skittish rescue that no one had been able to socialize with before she came to help out. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

ARL volunteer Amberly “Tiny” Wittwer with Roxy, a skittish rescue that no one had been able to socialize with before she came to help out. (Photo by Mark Thornton)

Amberly Coleman’s nickname is “Tiny,” but she has a huge heart for animals. That’s why she showed up at the Animal Rescue League on Friday.

“I’m just trying to help,” said Cole- man, who lives in Myrick. “I saw it in the newspaper and wanted to do what I could.”

She had a breakthrough with a mixed-breed newcomer named Roxy, which had been too skittish to interact with people. But Coleman was able to get a leash around her neck and take her for a walk.

That’s the kind of breakthrough that the family of the late ARL founder Ginny Chandler are hoping to have with homeless pets and the community. Her granddaughters Kim Wittwer and Nicole Shost and daughter Cathy Buchel traveled from Texas to Laurel last week to help out after learning that the rescue organization needed rescuing.

Wittwer wrote about the plight of ARL in an article that was published on the front page last Thursday. Since then, the ARL has received an influx of people donating money and time, but it’s going to take both — on a consistent basis — to keep it going, she wrote on Facebook. “Feeding the dogs alone costs $50 a day, and this doesn’t include any utility bills, etc.,” Wittwer wrote.

The shelter currently has 12 heartworm-positive dogs, which cost a minimum of $200 each to treat, and there are many more that need to be spayed/neutered at a cost of about $65 per dog, she added.

The ARL has had to cut back on hours and animals it takes in because of being short on funds and friends.

“There are so many dogs that need medical treatment,” Wittwer wrote during her visit to the shelter. “The individual stories of each animal will absolutely break your heart!”

Buchel and her sister Barbara Johnson of Laurel, along with Wittwer and Shost, are working to continue the legacy of their family matriarch. When she started the Laurel ARL in 1981, it was the first no-kill shelter in the state, Wittwer wrote. The organi- zation is operated solely on donations.

“The Animal Rescue League is in talks of permanently closing,” she wrote

in Thursday’s paper. “The funds to remain open simply are not there.”

The community has responded to their pleas since learning of the need, but consistent support will be needed to sustain the shelter, Wittwer wrote.

“Please, if you can give just $5 and miss a day of coffee,” she wrote, “it would help to better the lives of each of these animals!”

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