NORWAY – For the past two years, Edwine Guyer has been knocking on doors and placing phone calls to raise funds for an operating room at Responsible Pet Care.

Guyer, a former board member at Responsible Pet Care, said her quest began two winters ago. One frigid morning in January 2004, Responsible Pet Care staff members arrived at the shelter to find four kittens in a bag on the front doorstep. No one knew how long the eight-week-old kittens had been out, exposed to below-zero temperatures, but each had frostbitten ears.

Staff members hurried the kittens inside and placed them on heating pads. After a while, though, it was evident that their condition was not improving. A veterinarian was called, but the kittens died before help got to them.

“I was heartbroken,” Guyer said, her voice faltering, “and I thought, What could I do to help this situation out?”

Guyer, who kept 21 cats in her Paris home before the shelter opened eight years ago, decided that the best way to help the plight of unwanted kittens was to curb the cat population. The board of directors at Responsible Pet Care had been discussing an operating room, where cat owners could have their pets spayed or neutered at low cost. Guyer took up the cause.

Guyer set a target of $18,000 for her fund raising and began to knock on doors. Last month, she asked the town of Norway for a donation and was awarded $100 from the town’s animal control budget and a matching donation from Selectman William Damon. She had no luck when she visited Paris selectmen this week, “but that’s OK,” she said. Guyer has raised $400 since being turned down at the Paris selectmen’s meeting, and has promises of more donations this week.

“People have been very kind and generous,” she said, “and I know they’re not doing it for me. They’re doing it for the animals.”

Whether people are making donations out of a love of animals or because of Guyer’s drive and determination, the fund-raiser has met with great success. To date, Guyer has raised $17,578. Responsible Pet Care has also acquired an operating table, donated by Dr. Todd Gauger of the Norway Animal Hospital, and donations of other equipment from Dr. Gary Stuer of the Bethel Animal Hospital.

Responsible Pet Care President Shirley Boyce said that ventilation for the operating room will cost $10,000, “a real surprise cost.” The board has determined that it also needs at least $3,000 worth of equipment. They have some grant money to help with these costs, and are applying for more grants to help with other costs that may come up.

As other needs arise, Guyer will be sure to be knocking on doors and raising more funds. “She works very hard,” Boyce said, “and she’s very, very devoted to the shelter.”

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