Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Paw Prints: Master sergeant animal advocate

As a master sergeant at Cannon Air Force Base, Alexandria Parrella has spent 15 years serving her country but also dedicating her services to the animal community.

With every station, Parrella has volunteered her time to be a part of an animal rescue group or non-profit organization. After being stationed in Cannon for two years, Parrella provides services with a non-profit called Adopt-a-Pet Society, to advocate for pet wellness and to save as many animals' lives as possible through rescue, foster, and adoption.

"The thing with stray animals is someone always needs to be loved by somebody. To me animals aren't just animals, they're people," Parrella said.

Parrella said when she first arrived in Clovis she immediately noticed the high need to assist the stray animal population. So instead of leaving the work to someone else, she laced up her boots and began volunteering in any way she could.

Though Adopt-a-Pet Society, along with several other animal rescues are trying to change eastern New Mexico for the better, Parrella said it comes down to the local community to really advocate for change. She encourages everyone, especially military members who are seeking a sense of community, to spend some time finding themselves through animal rescue.

"Being military and having to move sometimes we lose that sense of community ... There's something out there for everybody. Finding a hobby that can bring you some sense of passion can help with your sense of purpose and it can help your community. I think that is extremely important for the military," Parrella said.

Parrella provides some tips for those who shoulder a lot of responsibility, but still want to assist to the animal community:

* Identify that want: Dedicating your time and patience is not something that can be half hearted; you have to want to help. Parrella said the person should always ask themselves how much they really want it and to see where that desire lies.

• Time management: Parrella is no stranger to a busy schedule. She suggests for future fosters and volunteers to actively look at their schedule. Some pets require a lot more time and patience; if you can't dedicate that time, ensure the pet can be handled with someone who does.

• Inner talent: Always think of creative ways to contribute to the animal community. Parrella said not everyone can offer their home to foster pets, but there are alternatives to contributing the effort to lowering the stray animal population. She said there is always room for new recruits.

"Figure what talent you have and what you can bring to the table. I would say no skill goes unused in animal rescue," Parrella said.

• Research: Parrella said there are several instances of groups proclaiming to be an animal rescue but don't have the proper paperwork. She said volunteers should always ask to see the 501c and to dedicate some time to thoroughly check the organization's background.

Madison Willis writes about animals for The Eastern New Mexico News. To suggest a story or nominate a "Pet of the week," contact her at: [email protected]