Volunteers donate dog houses and pet food to people in need on the Menominee Indian Reservation

MENOMINEE INDIAN RESERVATION, Wis. - Cathy Bates of Appleton began her animal rescue work on the Menominee Indian Reservation nine years ago. She said the friendships she has created and her passion for the pets keep her coming back, but she needs more help from Northeast Wisconsin to make a bigger difference. 

Every six weeks, Bates and her husband, Jeff, make the drive from Appleton to the Reservation, and they always arrive with gifts in hand. When NBC26 tagged along, we stopped with the Bates at Mary Martin's house.

"There's a lot of times that when you can't afford dog food or dog treats and then they come here and it's like, 'Yes! We got some,'" Martin chuckled.

She is unemployed and said many of her neighbors, who own pets, struggle with poverty.

"You see a lot of people on like food stamps."

So imagine Martin's despair when her dog, Queenie, developed mammary cancer. Treatment was too expensive, so Bates used her connections to get Queenie life-saving surgery.

"For me to give them $300 would've been huge, but with people contributing, we were able to come up with it," said Bates.

After seeing Queenie's progress, the Bates traveled down the street to Marvin Matchopatow's" house to drop-off a handmade dog house for his German shepherd, Semper. It'll provide warmth and shelter during the winter months.

"For me, it's kind of like a blessing. For the dog, I would say the same thing," said Matchopatow.  

Bates relies on a volunteer to build the dog houses from scratch.

"She picks up scrap wood and stuff at work that they allow her to get, and she builds houses. When she gets a load built, she lets me know and they come up."

20 dog houses have been donated so far this year, but Bates said they need about a dozen more people, including builders, to pitch-in.

"We could use volunteers to bring houses up. We could use volunteers to bring food up. I mean we could do so much more if we had more help." 

Bates said those considering joining her efforts should know that it's extremely rewarding work.

"We like doing it. We've been coming up here for years. We know a lot of these people. They trust us."

With additional volunteers and supplies, she said they could make a bigger impact for dogs like Semper and Queenie and for their owners who are so grateful for the Bates' generosity.

"I think what they're doing is wonderful," said Matchopatow.

Martin added, "If they ever need anything, we hope we can help them the way they helped us." 

If you would like to build houses, donate building supplies, pet food, or money to benefit the cause, you can contact Cathy Bates at (920) 209-0385.  










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