Cindy Munyon

“I’m kind of nutty about dogs,” says Cindy Munyon, who grew up on a small farm in rural Maryland, along with dogs and horses, two milk cows, a big garden and a small orchard. “At age 20 I was trying to get out, so I joined the Army for two years. It was a good springboard. It projected me into San Francisco.” She got married and spent two years in Panama with her husband. “He was from Oregon, and when we returned, we both went to the UO,” she continues. “I had speech therapy as a kid, and I thought, ‘I can do that!’” Though her marriage didn’t last, she completed an M.A. in speech pathology and has spent 30 years working with special needs students in Eugene’s 4J School District. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Munyon was watching it on TV. “I saw animals left behind,” she says. “It made me start thinking. What can I do locally to help animals, specifically dogs?” She began by volunteering as a dog walker at Greenhill Humane Society and at John Archer’s Waggin’ Inn Kennel. In 2008, she began promoting dogs for adoption. “I made music videos to advertise dogs on Craigslist,” she explains. “I’d advertise and they’d get adopted.” Then, two years ago, she was asked to help find a lost dog, missing for 52 days. She put up posters so that people could call, set a trap but he wouldn’t go in, then he ran into someone’s backyard. “We went over but couldn’t catch him until he got tired, after about an hour,” she recalls. “It was my introduction to pet search and rescue.” She has since joined forces with three other like-minded volunteers as Pawsitive Hearts Pet Search and Rescue. “We have four dog traps and seven cat traps,” she says. “Sometimes a week goes by with no missing animals, but sometimes it’s a full-time job. We first offer advice on finding the animal, but if people can’t go out, we might jump in and help.” Munyon has cut back her 4J work to two days a week to allow more time for rescues. In the photo, she hugs her own adopted rescue dog Josi.