Barksdale Airmen find homes for furry friends

BOSSIER CITY, La. -- Senior Airman Shelia Titus, 2d Security Forces Squadron, walks a puppy into a local pet store April 10 while volunteering for the Bossier City Animal Control's Hand-in-Paw adoption day. Volunteers like Airman Titus help feed and clean the animals, transport them, walk the animals as needed and help customers complete the adoption process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BOSSIER CITY, La. -- Senior Airman Shelia Titus, 2d Security Forces Squadron, walks a puppy into a local pet store April 10 while volunteering for the Bossier City Animal Control's Hand-in-Paw adoption day. Volunteers like Airman Titus help feed and clean the animals, transport them, walk the animals as needed and help customers complete the adoption process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BOSSIER CITY, La. -- Staff Sgt. Samantha Plemmons, 2d Aerospace Medical Squadron, holds two puppies while volunteering for the Bossier City Animal Control's Hand-in-Paw adoption day at Petsmart April 10. Sergeant Plemmons is the co-founder for the nonprofit organization and dedicates nearly all of her Saturdays to the adoption day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BOSSIER CITY, La. -- Staff Sgt. Samantha Plemmons, 2d Aerospace Medical Squadron, holds two puppies while volunteering for the Bossier City Animal Control's Hand-in-Paw adoption day at Petsmart April 10. Sergeant Plemmons is the co-founder for the nonprofit organization and dedicates nearly all of her Saturdays to the adoption day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joanna M. Kresge)

BOSSIER CITY, La. -- Barksdale Airmen are donating their time in support of the Bossier City Animal Control's Hand-in-Paw adoption days at a local pet store.

HIP is a nonprofit organization that finds homes for animals that are currently sheltered at the animal control office, and for the past five years Airmen have helped make it happen.

"These animals we are trying to find homes for have either been surrendered by previous owners or have been abandoned and picked up by the local animal control officers," said Staff Sgt. Samantha Plemmons, 2d Aerospace Medical Squadron and co-founder of the HIP program.

The day starts at the shelter where volunteers clean cages, feed the animals, walk them, bathe them and load them into vans to be transported to the pet store.

Sergeant Plemmons says that the store allows the animals to be more visible to potential adoptive pet parents.

"The animals get more exposure while at the pet store versus the shelter," she said. "It is also a perfect opportunity for the new adoption parents to get the things they need for their new pet."

Many of the volunteers, including Sergeant Plemmons, come out to help because they genuinely care about the well-being of the animals.

"I initially got involved because I love animals and it was a great opportunity to get out and get involved with the community," she said. "I come back because I want to provide a positive quality of life for these animals and provide them with new homes."

One volunteer says the reason she volunteers is to help her fellow Airmen.

"The majority of the animals that HIP receives are from military members deploying or permanently changing station, so I think it's our duty as their fellow military members to help them out," said Senior Airman Shelia Titus, 2d Security Forces Squadron and HIP volunteer.

Airman Titus says the experience is so rewarding that she is going to continue to volunteer.

"My favorite part of the day is when the animals get adopted," she said. "It's nice to know they'll get the love they deserve. I think I'll be spending more and more time here from now on."

For more information on HIP adoption days or to volunteer, contact Sergeant Plemmons at 456-6589 or by email at Samantha.Plemmons@us.af.mil .