Alaqua Animal Hero of the Month

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Laurie Hood, founder of Alaqua, is pictured with Marisa Milford, Animal Hero of the Month, Marjorie Milford, Marisa's mother, and Nina the pit bull.

Special to The Sun
Published: Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM.

Alaqua Animal Refuge would like to honor Marisa Milford as the Animal Hero of the Month for June 2014. When you talk to this 13 year old, you would think she has been saving animals all her life, and that’s because she has.

“Ever since I could hold a bottle for a baby squirrel, I have rescued animals,” Marisa said.

Marisa doesn’t just save dogs and cats. She has saved everything from baby squirrels to starlings to bats. She even trained the two rescued starlings to find termites in nearby logs so they could survive on their own. Later when she set them free in a park, she made sure signs were posted about the birds to ensure their safety. Marisa has a huge heart and never passes by an animal in need.

So, when two pit bulls were dumped on her street and no one could catch them, Marisa stepped in. She understood what the dogs would respond to and they understood that she was there to rescue them. This wasn’t the first, or last, time Marisa would lie down on the ground and wait for the dogs to come to her. 

“No one is giving her advice,” her mother said. “She just seems to know what to do.”

She took the pit bulls in and got them the help they needed. She went on to create an adoption process and designed a contract that would require adopters to have the animal vetted within 15 days of adoption. However, the man who adopted the pit bulls did not honor his contract and Marisa found one of the pit bulls at the local shelter just four weeks later. For the first time, Marisa paid the adoption fee with her own money to save Nina the pit bull from euthanasia.

Marisa has health issues of her own that she has dealt with since she was a small child, but she doesn’t let her problems stop her from being an animal hero. In fact, it brings her closer to the animals because she understands their pain and has learned patience. Marisa couldn’t do this without the support of her mother and father. With her parents’ encouragement, she recently established the White Oak Animal Rescue after her most recent rescue in White Oak Cemetery. In that instance, Marisa found a puppy that had been shot point blank. She named the puppy Abby and fostered her while she healed. At that point, Marisa contacted Alaqua to help find Abby a home and we were honored to help this young lady find Abby the perfect family. Alaqua is proud to name Marisa Milford Animal Hero of the Month.

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