The Humane Society of Durham Region has been a pillar of the community for animals in need since 1988. 
The Humane Society of Durham Region take in dogs, cats, birds and other small pets that have been abused, abandoned or surrendered to find them a safe and loving home. 
On average, the shelter rescues between 900 to 1,100 animals each year. While most of them are domestic animals, they have rehomed chickens and a pot-bellied pig too.
Cindy Bennett sits on the board of directors and has volunteered with the humane society for more than 20 years. 
Her duties range from walking dogs, fostering pets, and driving animals to vet appointments, and other much-needed tasks.
“Anything they need me to do, I’m happy to do,” said Bennett.
She has fostered more than 220 animals in her home. 
She does not own any pets, so she is prepared to take in animals with serious conditions. 
“I can foster the sickest, most contagious and, being retired, I can foster the ones that are terribly injured,” said Bennett. 
In the past year, the organization has also been sending vans filled with pet food to local food banks. 
“People who access human food banks are able to take home pet foods so that they aren’t giving their own food to their pet and doing without,” said Bennett. 
The humane society does not receive government funding, so they rely heavily on support from the community.
“We have nothing but gratitude for the community that helped serve the Humane Society,” said Bennett. 
This is what helped save Raya, one of Bennett’s foster pets. 
She is a three-month-old puppy born with a heart defect called pulmonic stenosis that restricts blood flow to her heart. 
This put her in urgent need of heart surgery, which cost more than $7,000. 
Without undergoing this procedure, Raya wasn’t expected to make it past her first birthday. 
The humane society shared Raya’s story on Facebook and asked for donations to help save her life. 
Sure enough, the community came through in support. 
“The people answered that call and we were able to get this little puppy a second chance,” said Bennett.