While most teenage girls are busy doing their nails and downloading the latest music, Faye Carey is helping re-home dozens of abandoned dogs.
The 16-year-old Waikato teen volunteers with her local branch of Animal Control, giving abandoned animals a second chance at life.
She has set up a Facebook page, Animal Re-home Waikato, where she advertises puppies and dogs who need adopting.
It all started when Faye underwent a week of work experience at Animal Control last November.
"We picked up a puppy in the pound the first day I went to Animal Control and then on my last day he was still there and I felt really sorry for him," she says.
"So I advertised him on TradeMe and he got a lot of interest and he went to a lovely home in Auckland."
The idea for the Facebook page came when Faye was trying to re-home a litter of abandoned kittens, and needed a free way to advertise.
The page has nearly 300 likes and a loyal following of satisfied new parents. Faye has managed to re-home more than 60 dogs.
"This takes a lot of the heat off the pound for us trying to get these dogs into homes," says Animal Control officer Vaughan Oliver. "The good thing about it is Faye takes time to present our dogs in the best possible light.
"Faye helps with giving our dogs that generally miss out in the first instance of getting adopted … a second chance."
Faye still spends every Friday volunteering at Animal Control, grooming the new puppies and photographing them for the Facebook page. She also spends around three hours each night organising for people to view the animals, setting up adoptions and replying to emails.
"It can be stressful trying to juggle, because we've got animals at home and schoolwork and chores and everything else. But I think it's easy for me to do my work, because I'm quite dedicated to the puppies and dogs," she says.
"It's rewarding as well, so that makes it worthwhile."
The pound receives as many as 20 new dogs each week, most of which need re-homing.
"The majority of our dogs that we find are generally out roaming or abandoned and often we get a lot of dogs who are surrendered by their owners who can no longer look after them," says Mr Oliver.
"With Faye's help and work we can quite often get these dogs into suitable caring homes quite quickly now, so it's good. The turnaround is quite fast."
While Faye will still be at high school for two more years, she hopes to keep working with animals.
"I'd love to have a career in Animal Control. I quite enjoy dealing with people and making a difference."
And, Animal Control will be happy to keep her.
"We're just quite lucky and blessed to have Faye," says Mr Oliver.
"She really restores my faith in the community out there. She does a great job helping out."
Faye posts pictures of new dogs available for adoption each week on her Facebook page.
source: newshub archive