Save the Furries

Tonja Heer, founder and president of Furry Nation Salvation, displays the organizations calendar tha t is no on sale.

Unique Heroes & Rescued Pets calendars are now out for 2023, just in time to make special gifts for the people on your holiday shopping list.

The calendar features Daytona Beach firefighters and police officers, many of whom have adopted rescued pets themselves, in candid photos with rescued dogs and cats.

The 2023 calendar is a fundraising enterprise put together by Tonja Heer, founder of Furry Nation Salvation, a volunteer-run, foster-based animal rescue organization in Port Orange.

“Furry Nation Salvation has a goal, to prevent suffering and neglect while saving as many animals’ lives as possible,” Ms. Heer said. “We are thankful to those who purchase this calendar as it helps support that goal by raising funds and awareness for animals at risk in Volusia County.”

Ms. Heer, a Daytona Beach EMT and firefighter and a mother of four, said this will most likely become an “every four year” calendar endeavor in the future, because of the time it takes to produce it.

“It isn’t just a calendar,” she said. “It’s full of so much information, such as things to help your pets live longer and to help save on vet bills.”

Furry Nation Salvation has been helping animals since 2010, fostering animals, rescuing animals and helping individuals rehome pets if they can no longer care for them. One prominent example of their rescue efforts was the search for 20 “Christmas cats” a year ago. Twenty volunteers gave up their Christmas morning to search for the cats that were dumped in three different locations throughout Volusia County. Eventually, 13 of the Christmas cats were rescued.

The 2023 calendar can be purchased in several ways: By sending a check for $15 to Ms. Heer at 292 Poinciana Ave., Port Orange, FL 32127 (free shipping); by visiting; or by stopping at locations listed on the website.

Ms. Heer said they are still looking for even more locations to help sell the calendars, and businesses get a small kickback for selling them. Buying three or more calendars saves money. Call or text to learn more at (386) 295-2755.

The first calendar was produced in 2017 and was successful, Ms. Heer said, and now, “with the purchase of land, our future goal is to build a small facility in Ne w Smyrna Beach to help even more animals in need.”

Her passion to help animals in need began years ago when, as a young girl, she wanted to spay and neuter stray cats near her father’s home. This evolved into Furry Nation Salvation. Now with Rebecca Witkowski on board as vice president, Candace Park as director/TNR (trap neuter return) coordinator, and many fosters and volunteers, the organization is able to do amazing things to help animals, Ms. Heer said. Even her husband, Rob, a teacher at Coronado Beach Elementary School in New Smyrna Beach, and her four children pitch in to help. The organization helped more than 200 pets last year, and this year she said, “We received so many more calls due to Ian.”

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