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Emma Fassbinder

Emma Fassbinder poses with recently adopted furry friend, Milo, at Irish Fest in Waterloo.

While animals await adoption at Cedar Bend Humane Society in Waterloo, it’s often the behind the scenes people who are the unsung heroes.

Emma Fassbinder has been one of those special people for nearly a year. Her passion of helping the animals began when she was a child as her family would make blankets and collect donations for their local shelter.

“When I moved away to college, I felt like something was missing so I signed up to volunteer,” Emma says.

As a volunteer, Emma provides basic care for the animals at the shelter, located on Airline Highway. She also attends events in the community, held through the shelter.

She helps by taking dogs and cats to the library, schools, pet stores, nursing homes, and also assisted with the local event, Irish Fest. Every so often, Emma transports a feline friend to a local pet store to be featured for adoption. This helps get the word out to the public about the many animals waiting for their forever home.

Fassbinder finds herself at the shelter about eight hours a month. During the summer when school is out and more events are taking place, she is able to help out more.

“I mainly work with the dogs,” Emma says, “ but sometimes I like to just snuggle with the cats.”

Fassbinder says her favorite part of volunteering is sharing in the adoption process. “I have helped several families choose a pet and after taking a dog to an event, the next day someone could be interested in them!” Meeting new people and getting to know other volunteers is also at the top of her favorites list.

While spending time at the shelter, Emma gets to know animals of all ages and encourages people to give the senior dogs a chance. “You may think you won’t have a lot of time with them, but really you are giving them the best senior years of their life.”

To become a volunteer at the Humane Society, one can visit the website,, and fill out the application. An orientation at the shelter will then take place. Volunteers have the choice of making their own schedule because when it comes to helping the animals, any amount of time is needed and beneficial.

“The ones in need are the best breed!, Emma adds, “With a shelter pet, you’re getting an animal who wants nothing more than to be loved and to be part of your family!”