A mother chooses to live the legacy
Meet her third child
Claws and Paws is like the founder, Mary’s, third child.
It’s more than a job to her; this is her daughter’s legacy.
Mary’s daughter was always pushing her mom forward in life. Mary’s son, Aaron, also is key to the creation of this organization.
Claws and Paws would not exist without either of them.
This 501(c)(3) nonprofit will thrive and grow with likeminded animal lovers like you. Please help us in any way you can. Share our story. Support us with time, money, a little or a lot of anything you can give. See our How to Help page for a nice list of options you can consider.
On behalf of Christie, Paige, Mary’s family, friends, tribe, board of directors, and Annie the cat Christie rescued her while she was a student at Central Michigan University, thank you for helping in any way you can.
Christie and Paige’s story
by Mary Koliba, Founder of Claws and Paws Rescue
From a very young age, Christie and her brother, Aaron, were always bringing home animals that were lost or homeless and needed a place to stay for a few days — or forever. Being an animal-loving family, taking care of these precious cats and dogs was only natural.
We didn’t realize just how important rescuing animals was — or what a big part of our family’s tapestry it was — until Christie died in a tragic car accident at 22 years old, and 22 weeks pregnant with a little girl she had already named Paige Madison. Our world unraveled on March 19, 2005.
After losing my daughter I struggled with life and purpose for quite some time. Part of me was lost that day, and I needed to recreate myself to go on and to honor my daughter and her life. I began volunteering at our local animal shelter but quickly realized it was a kill shelter and knew there had to be better options for animals out there. That is when I read about a “No Kill” conference being held in Bay City, Michigan, not too far from home.
My son Aaron and I were excited to learn about the No Kill movement. We talked to a few other animal lovers in our community and attended the conference. A fire was lit; we knew killing did not need to be an option (although we already knew this, we just didn’t know what to do). We learned that there was a solution, a plan to end the needless killing of dogs and cats in the sheltering and rescue environment. That conference sparked the creation of Claws and Paws Rescue … and I again had purpose.
It’s been more than a decade since losing my precious daughter, and I’ve only recently started sharing her story. The pain from losing a child is so deep and so personal that it cuts to the soul. Creating the rescue has saved me. Claws and Paws Rescue fills my heart. It’s something I can do to for my girl and carry on her legacy of rescuing and her love for animals. Claws and Paws Rescue would not exist without Christie and Paige.
Christie was always pushing me and challenging me — and continues to do so to this day. The rescue has met every challenge that has come our way and emerged stronger and more focused: some are large multi-faceted rescues, and some are the rescue of a single animal that has been abandoned, abused or neglected. Every animal that comes into our care is equally important and loved. Our animal loving volunteers are passionate and committed, and I’m blessed to have them as part of our lifesaving team. Christie and Paige are our guiding lights, and we are their warriors.
We will continue to thrive and grow with likeminded animal lovers like you. Please help us in any way you can. Share our story. Support us with time. Donate financially. Attend our events. Help in our office. Do what you can. By working together, we can accomplish great things.
On behalf of Christie, Paige, our family, friends, tribe, board of directors, volunteers and Annie, the scared kitten that Christie rescued while at Central Michigan University, we thank you for helping us to grow and to be able to help more animals in need.