Dogs of all sizes bark in excitement as they arrive at Furburbia each day at noon. Already waiting is Parkite Nancy O'Connor. Clutching a leash in one hand she takes hold of Tank, a black terrier/pit bull mix, who wags his tail happily as he is led away for the first of his three daily walks.
As the duo pass patrons of the Tanger Outlet Center one couple pauses to admire Tank. O'Connor smiles and strikes up a friendly conversation, casually mentioning that the dog is searching for a forever home.
For the past six months, O'Connor has given up her daily lunch break to spend time with the animals at Furburbia who are waiting to be adopted.
"Sometimes it's the best part of my day," O'Connor cheerily explained. "Animals live in the moment so they're so happy that you gave them 20 minutes or whatever you were able to give them."
In addition to walking the dogs and playing with the many cats that Furburbia hosts, O'Connor transports animals, cleans, and fills in doing odd jobs when needed. She even spent part of her Fourth of July cleaning cat condos
"She'll do anything. There hasn't been a limit to what she'll offer the animals," remarked supervisor Cathy Clark, who pointed out that O'Connor also gives time with Paws For Life Utah, a volunteer organization that works with the Heber City Animal Shelter.
Furburbia is a no-kill shelter meaning that the animals it takes in are guaranteed a place to stay until they are adopted by a loving family. Unfortunately, some animals have to wait longer than others.
"All the older animals I really feel for because most people, they want young pets," mentioned O'Connor. "(Pit bulls) really get a bad rap. Every pit bull we have ever had in this program is the sweetest, most loving animal that I've ever met."
Until they find families the animals are given top-quality care, something O'Connor credits the Furburbia staff for.
"[The animals] might not be in a home but they are getting a ton of attention and a lot of loving. And they're safe, which is the most important thing."