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Local Organization Helps to Place At-Risk Animals in Forever Homes

Photography Provided

In the heart of Johnson County, you’ll find Dr. Cindy Baker O’Dell and her husband Matt rescuing abandoned cats, dogs and other small animals. For nearly a decade the couple has been working diligently to change the way pets are cared for and adopted in the Franklin, Bargersville and Center Grove communities through their foundation, Hope Marie’s Fund.

As a veterinarian at the Bargersville Veterinary Hospital & Wellness Center, Cindy founded Hope Marie’s Fund in 2011 as a way to assist pet owners with medical expenses, and it quickly transformed into a rescue organization. Since then, the O’Dells have been on a mission to help rescue and treat animals at risk for being euthanized due to medical or behavioral issues.

“We try to focus on medical needs,” Cindy says. “We still have people come into the clinic that want to euthanize for something, so we’ll use the fund to have those animals turned over to us.”

Unlike many pet rescue organizations in the state, Hope Marie’s Fund is run by volunteers. The O’Dells rely heavily on foster homes, hospice homes for terminally ill pets, and individuals who help with a monthly adoption event at Pet Valu in Bargersville. As a nonprofit organization, Hope Marie’s Fund is supported by donations from the community.

“We probably have five or six hospice homes, and three or four regular fosters,” Matt says. “We’ve pared back a little bit, just due to a lack of foster homes and funding. We’ve had fosters that lived far away, and when you have medical needs of the dogs and cats in your rescue, they need to come to the vet. That’s not always easy if somebody lives in Indianapolis, so we’d prefer to have them in the Center Grove area.”

Volunteers and donations have helped place dozens of pets in forever homes over the years. Recently, the O’Dells partnered with Johnson County Community Cats to help take care of stray and abandoned cats in the area, and help them find loving homes.

In order for an individual or family to adopt a pet through Hope Marie’s Fund, they must first fill out an online form. A meet and greet is then arranged to determine if the animal is comfortable with his or her potential new family. Those interested in adopting a dog can also expect an in-home inspection to ensure the animal will be well taken care of.

“A lot of times we’ll set up the meet and greet at the clinic if they’re close by, and people do not have to wait until our monthly event to adopt a pet,” Cindy says.

Matt says one of the organization’s goals for the new year is to educate people and be a resource for pet owners. He also says he’d love to see an empty shelter, with all of Hope Marie’s Fund’s lovable pets in permanent homes.

For more info on Hope Marie’s Fund, including details on volunteering and adopting pets, visit hopemariesfund.org.

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