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Pet lovers win volunteer award

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By The Staff

 Jessica Yepko and Kate Mikan are inseparable, especially where it counts. You don’t say one name without the other. You don’t see one without the other and there are always animals involved. 

The teens give all of their free time to the Woodstock Animal Foundation, going around Kentucky to retrieve animals from overpopulated shelters, transport them to spay and neuter clinics and then match the animals with a loving home.   Since they were both 12, the two have volunteered countless hours in an attempt to find good homes for cats and dogs. They both say they do it because it’s fun and both are planning a career in veterinary medicine. Tammy Edington nominated the duo for the Pets Group United Volunteer Award. She said she nominated them because of the the quantity of free time they devote. They have helped in more than 35 clinics and helped spay or neuter more than 1,200 animals. “I can’t conceive not having either of them with us as we traveled throughout (the state),” she said. “Their quick smiles and good nature have kept us striving forward, always looking for the day when there will be no more homeless animals in Kentucky.”  While other kids are out hanging with friends, going to movies or gossiping about the cutest boy in school, for the past four years, any free time these girls have is spent volunteering for Woodstock. They still talk about their day at school, and who likes who, but they do it while constantly on the move, sterilizing medical equipment, shaving bellies, cleaning stomachs with antiseptic, then cleaning ears and soothing the animals as they regain consciousness. The pair’s efforts allow the veterinarians to focus on the surgery itself. They help with between 45 and 75 surgeries on a given clinic day. Then the task is to find these animals loving homes.  Edington said that soon after they started they began fostering animals on their own and between the two of them have found more than 50 permanent homes for these animals. They couldn’t rescue all of the animals.  “This was hard for the girls,” Edington said, “but they didn’t give up on the ones they couldn’t take, they simply found someone who could.”    E-mail us about this story at: editor@oldhamera.com