Monika is in her 12th year at Synovus Bank and is a Licensed Relationship Banker. But what makes her stand out for us is an endeavor she started in July of 2016. She’d been doing community outreach to help animals in need even before that, but in 2016 she officially established Helping Pawz Inc. She and her good friend Rachel Meier kept finding animals in their neighborhood and work that were in great need of a variety of things including food, shelter and medication.
“As we started knocking on doors, talking to people, we ended up with so many animals in need that were living in terrible and often inhumane conditions. We had to start a 501c3 for donations,” Monika says.
And that was how Helping Pawz was born. It’s not a shelter or a rescue. Every 8 to 12 weeks, Monika and a crew of volunteers go out into the community to talk to people about the conditions their pets are in. They sign the animals up to be spayed or neutered, they provide better shelters, they build kennels, buy flea medication and food. They help people take care of their animals. And in some cases they persuade those who have too many animals to give some over to rescues.
“We educate families on the need for improved conditions and try to come up with affordable solutions to give them a better life,” Monika says. “We work to get dogs off massive logging chains and provide better collars and tie outside or runners for pets.”
Before starting Helping Pawz, Monika spent years doing community outreach mainly for women and children through the Junior Service League of Rome. And she’s worked several other pet groups and rescues over the years.
“I took on a horrifically abused pit bull named Braveheart and he sealed the deal for me,” she says. “I devoted my time to work with the animals since our city and county ordinances don’t do much to protect pets or allow much recourse on individuals that abuse or neglect their pets. We all know animals don’t have a voice and are basically treated as property or yard ornaments. I, along with a really great group of animal advocates, am trying and will continue to try and change Rome one pet at a time.”
When the new Floyd County PAWS shelter opened near where Monika lives, she began spending holidays, vacations and weekends working with dogs there focusing on the quarantined dogs that get little or no attention and often tend to be deemed unadoptable. She bathes and groom dogs, temperament test them and photographs them to share on social media.
Monika has worked tireless and thanklessly to help people in our community take better care of their animals.