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January 8th, 2018 - I got home from work and came across a post on a local Lost and Found Facebook group for a lost dog; this lost dog was named Kyoe. Kyoe had disappeared early that morning and his family was searching frantically to find him. As the days went by I would continue to see posts for Kyoe. His parents were persistent in their search for their boy and so many community members stepped in to help. Strangers came together to form ideas, develop search parties, send prayers, offer suggestions and words of encouragement. People from all over came together to try and help this wonderful family and their amazing dog, all with one common interest - their love for animals. In the time that Kyoe was missing, I would constantly check several Lost and Found groups and pages on Facebook, hoping, PRAYING that I would see Kyoe's face on a "Found" ad, so that he could be reunited with his loving family.

In my hopeful search for Kyoe I noticed that there was no good place for families to post animals that needed help. I would often see someone post something on a lost and found site stating "I'm not sure this is allowed but I don't know where else to post this" as they tried to rehome their animal, or at least find a temporary foster home for their animal while they were going through a rough time. Between witnessing all the love that people had for Kyoe and his family, and seeing all the posts of animals that needed new homes, I felt like I should create a group with some of these same amazing individuals, and together we could help as many animals as possible.

This Facebook group was created on February 13th 2018 and it is called Animal Lovers of Central New York.  Once the group was formed I extended an invitation to everyone and anyone I knew. If people needed to rehome their animal or knew of an animal in dire need I would do everything in my power to help them, including vet reference checks, personal reference checks and home visits. I would constantly search ads and extend a hand to anyone that was trying to rehome their animal and unbeknownst to me, this would change my world forever.

So many people came to us looking for help and so many families and animals relied on us to help them find their forever homes and in many cases, many animals relied on us to save their lives. Months were quickly passing by, and thanks to all of the amazing people within the group, many of the animals that were posted were getting adopted and fostered through all the shares and support!

Since the group was created I have met some of the best people, who have ultimately turned into some of my closest friends. Whether it be fellow rescuers, advocates, or members sharing posts, they have all truly inspired me in a way I could never explain. I have had individuals reach out to me offering to foster, offering to provide transports, donating leashes, dog beds, collars, toys, etc. The amount of love I have felt since February 13th, 2018 is surreal. So many animals would not be here today and would not be in their loving homes without the much needed help from the community, and for that, I am beyond thankful and forever grateful. It is through the love and support of all these individuals that I realized we are unstoppable. This amazing group of people will work tirelessly to no end in order to help a furry friend in need and without them so many animals would not be here today.  I used their encouragement as a platform to stand on as I made the decision to start my own animal rescue, POWERful Paws Animal Rescue, Inc.

It was evident to me that when you have so many people who believe in you and your cause then there is only one direction to move in –and that is forward.

As for our beloved Kyoe...his body washed ashore on Gaskin rd. months after he went missing. Heart breaking, I know but for several months his parents NEVER gave up hope on finding him, and neither did the community! Although Kyoe is physically gone from this life, I hope we can all take comfort in knowing that his soul lives on in all the animals that are alive today because of him.  Although Kyoe crossed that rainbow bridge far too early, he built his own bridge for so many animals to walk across – where they would leave a life of hopelessness and despair and find love, happiness and unconditional love for a lifetime.

REST IN PEACE sweet Kyoe, we all will forever love you and be forever thankful for bringing such a loving community of animal lovers together, in order to help so many animals in need.

~ Erin Power, President/Founder, POWERful Paws Animal Rescue, Inc.

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