Pay it 4ward: Friends thank animal lover for hard work in reuniting lost pets

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – Animal control is going to be busy tonight, with a number of pets expected to run away after hearing those Fourth of July fireworks.

But it’s not just the City of Albuquerque that’s working overtime to help lost pets, local Facebook pages are stepping up too.

If there’s a lost pet in the city Nichole Atencio is likely on it.

“Every lost dog that she encounters, takes a little piece of her heart with her,” said Angela Stell with NMDOG

Posting on various Facebook pages, contacting families, trying to get the owners and their four legged friends reunited.

“It’s a 24-hour thing and you know, she does it on her own accord,” said Keely Babb, Pay It 4ward nominator. 

Local rescue groups are appreciative of her hard work too.

“She can look at a picture and go oh my gosh, they’ve been missing this dog for two weeks. Let me find the post,’” said Stell. 

It’s that love of dogs that connected all of them in the first place.

“I had found the dog in the park next to my house where I live, and so that was how I was able to post about it, and then I ended up – through that page – fostering a dog that I now own,” said Babb. 

Now they want to thank Atencio with $400 for all her work. 

“Thank you for all the work you do,  you know, the Albuquerque Pet Connection and relentlessly helping all the animals of our community,” said Babb. 

“Thank you so much I appreciate it. You guys are the ones that put the hard work. I see the work Angela does with NMDOG and the rescue, I was just excited a dog was at my work,” said Atencio. 

“I lean on you so much whenever we end up with a dog and I’m like ‘Nichole have you seen this? Or do you know where they belong?’ Nine times out of 10, she’s able to steer me in the right direction,” said Stell. 

Atencio owns or moderates at least eight Facebook pages.

“I created a couple on my own and then a few I’ve taken over from people that just left them. So yeah, I just stay busy, anything that I can do to reunite families,” said Atencio. 

She hopes owners out there will be sure to microchip their pets and take care of them like they’re family.

“They depend on us for food, shelter, love and they deserve that plus more. And for an animal to get lost and lose their family or for a family to for whatever reason, lose their animal, cat or dog I just want them to be reunited and be happy,” Atencio said.