Our May Humane Hero award goes to Kathy and Brian Ahearn, and all their staff, at For Your Paws Only. If you live in Mount Washington Valley and own a pet, you are surely familiar with this local institution. Going on their 27th year of business, this family owned pet store has a long history of helping shelter animals.
You might be familiar with FYPO’s in-store Pet Bakery or their popular Doggy Playgroups. What you might not be aware of is how much FYPO has helped homeless pets through the years. Kathy was a founding Board Member of Conway Area Humane Society. Both Kathy and Brian were present for the ground breaking ceremony of our shelter! Through the years, Kathy has continued to serve on CAHS fundraising and events committees. Their work in creating our formerly named Bark in the Park event is significant. Last fall, FYPO helped coordinate and contribute to a large wholesale purchase of pet food to donate to local pet owners in need during the pandemic. Their store is now helping lead our May Pet Food Drive, encouraging visitors to purchase gift cards that will help us stock the CAHS Pet Food Pantry for pet owners in need.
Brian and Kathy’s service to animals in need transcends shelter walls. They recently received national training to become a local Disaster Animal Response Team. This training came from Brian’s involvement with homeless animals following Hurricane Katrina. Brian worked with the Red Cross to rescue, relocate and often reunite displaced pets following this horrific tragedy down south. They will now assume the role of first responders in the event of an emergency in Mount Washington Valley. Their store will be called upon to help create temporary shelters for animals, reach out to community partners and provide emergency care.
Brian and Kathy are truly community leaders to all pets in the Valley. Visit their store at 1821 White Mountain Highway in North Conway to see their dedication in action and support a business that has been helping animals since day one.
Our second honorary Humane Hero of the Month award goes to volunteers Cheryl Ann Mitchell and Matthew Gray. If you adopted an animal recently from Conway Area Humane Society, you might want to take a moment to thank Cheryl Ann and Matt for bringing this furry friend into your life. This unbelievable duo transports out-of-area animals to our shelter. The most amazing part is that they do all of this lifesaving work as unpaid volunteers.CAHS rescues animals that have no other means for survival. Did you realize that 70% of our rescues come from outside of the Mount Washington Valley community? Such animals come from a variety of circumstances – they are strays, surrenders, abuse or neglect cases, victims or natural disasters, rescues from high-kill shelters, and more. Cheryl Ann and her brother Matt have unfailingly traveled to pick up all of these amazing animal friends. Although you may have never met this team, you can absolutely thank them for growing pet-loving families in our community. With an average of five trips a month, this Humane Hero duo voluntarily drive across the country to rescue cats and dogs in need.
On March 1st, eleven nominees were announced for the annual Mount Washington Valley Mr. Pageant. Each nominee competed at a virtual live event later in the month. Before this date, they fundraised for a nonprofit of their choice. Within a few short days, Jimmy Gardner’s fundraising page for the Conway Area Humane Society had twice as many donations than any other pageant nominee. By the end of his donation period, Jimmy raised over $8,000 for animals in need.
Jimmy’s decision to support our shelter was an immediate one. “Animals teach us how to be best friends,” he states. Gardner has befriended many adopted shelter animals through the years. The difference these animals have made in the lives of Valley residents is incredible to him. A resident of Conway since the age of five, Jimmy appreciates how our community pulls together during hard times, and sees CAHS as a great example of that mindset. He appreciates our dedicated staff and the support we lend to both animals and pet owners in times of need.
An institution himself, Gardner has worked at North Conway’s Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery since the day it opened over two decades ago. He has watched Moat transform through the years, gaining customer momentum and adopting new seating areas over time. As Moat’s General Manager, he is excited to lead their 21st year celebration this summer. He has seen our community’s love for Moat grow, and he is proud and honored to be at the center of it all. We are honored to have an incredibly dedicated community member like Jimmy in our corner, supporting the important work we do.