Charity of the Month: Pet Rescue of Mercer

Mercer founder, Jenny Swingle, was making regular rounds, plucking animals up from area shelters, guarding them from euthanization and certain death.

Today, the operation is a bit more organized, but still driven by the same raw love that first ignited the cause.

“We take harder cases that others won’t,” said Brooke Reeder, a volunteer with the organization. “We try not to turn any away.”

The Hamilton-based nonprofit seeks to educate the public and promote adoption through the region’s animal shelters and rescue groups.

This is accomplished with advertising on the internet, by way of flyers and newspaper articles and community, business and volunteer outreach.

“We have 10 to 12 foster homes and of course, there’s always an overabundance of animals that need help,” Reeder said. “It’s harder to find homes, but there are so many animals…there’s no shortage and we’ve had some animals for over a year.”

Reeder signed on to adopt her own terrier-mix, Lily, nearly eight years ago, after crossing paths on a facilitating website,

“I had lost a dog a few years before and missed the companionship,” she said. “I became a lifer.”

As a foster home, the obligations are simple, she explains.

“You give them a home and love, and you bring them to adoption days at Hamilton’s PetSmart,” Reeder said. “You just do what you would normally do with your own pet.”

The Pet Rescue’s mission is made possible through careful planning and fundraising, along with the help of volunteers, 25 to 30 of which currently fill the group’s ranks.

“In 2015…we rescued and re-homed 150 animals,” Reeder said.

Lately, organizers have looked to private screenings with the AMC Hamilton 24 theater, silent auctions and major adoption drives like “Freedom Fest.”

The next big function is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Hamilton’s Hibernian Club.

Regardless the gains, Mercer Pets is always on the hunt for adoptees, donations, foster homes or even volunteers, Reeder said.

For more information on how to help, log onto

About The Author

By way of the U.S. Air Force, Maria Prato is a California native turned Jersey transplant. Her past and present titles include: award-winning wordsmith, veteran, avid conversationalist, gym mouse and more importantly, single mom. Streetwise and Sooner-educated, Ms. Prato will likely be remembered as a left-leaning workaholic, who had a colorful use of the language.