By Martie Thompson
editor@floridanewsline.com

Ana Andenmatten said she has always loved animals. She recalls hiding various animals in her room as a young girl. When her father found out about a particular rabbit that wasn’t supposed to be there, young Ana got in trouble. She hid a rabbit again and the next time her father found it, he gave in and helped her build a hutch for it in the backyard. 

In college, she worked in a veterinarian’s office. She said she was upset that some people would have their pets put down for what she considered unacceptable reasons and this stayed with her and was instrumental in the work she does today as founder of Ana’s Angels Animal Rescue.

Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7

Ana’s Angels started up in 1999 and was incorporated as a 501 c 3 non-profit in 2003. Every Saturday, Andenmatten drives to animal shelters in rural areas like Clay County and Putnam County and loads up her car with dogs and kittens to be adopted at Petco, PetSmart and Pet Supermarket, all on San Jose Boulevard. She is particularly drawn to black dogs and cats (which she said take the longest to be adopted) as well as those that are elderly or have medical needs.

“I always felt badly for these animals in rural areas, because they weren’t being seen by prospective families,” Andenmatten said. “They had no visibility and their outlook was bleak. So I bring them to Mandarin, which is full of nice families who can give them good homes.”

To date, Ana’s Angels has placed more than 5,000 animals in loving homes.

By day, Andenmatten utilizes her early childhood education degree that she earned from the University of North Florida. She has worked for 13 years as a Duval County Public School teacher and is currently in her third year teaching first grade at Mandarin Oaks Elementary. She currently fosters animals in her classroom at the school, with permission from administration as well as parents of students in her classroom. She said it is not unusual to have a mama cat in the back of her classroom nursing kittens while the children work on their studies.

“It teaches students responsibility and compassion,” Andenmatten said. “I always tell the students, ‘Don’t get attached’ to the animals, because we are fostering and the ultimate goal is for the animal to be adopted.”

She said that she gives the students a much anticipated weekly update on the animals that have found their forever home each week. 

At her home, Andenmatten has, predictably, a rescued menagerie — including a horse, goats and chickens. Since she has her Florida Fish and Wildlife license, she also has rescued bobcats in a cage in her backyard. 

“I come home from work in heels and change into boots,” Andenmatten said, since she has so many different animals on different diets to feed. She and her husband are parents to two young children, who are also animal lovers.

Andenmatten said she is in need of foster families in the Mandarin area for the animals awaiting adoption so that she can continue her passion of helping animals. 

“I’ve gotten better at being realistic about what I can do,” she said. “I’m better about only taking in the number of animals that we adopt out each week and not trying to do more than we have resources for.”

Ana’s Angels is completely volunteer-run and Andenmatten said she couldn’t make it work without the approximately 25 volunteers who help her. Donations to pay for the required veterinary visits for each animal as well as food are gratefully accepted and tax deductible. Visit “Ana’s Angels Animal Rescue” on Facebook for more information or to contact Andenmatten to learn more about fostering.

Photo courtesy Ana Andenmatten

Dolly Parton after being cared for by Ana Andenmatten and fostered in her classroom at Mandarin Oaks Elementary.

 

  • Ackerman Urology We specialize in Prostate health, sexual health, bladder health, and Kidney health
  • Smiles by Glenos & Hadfic Orthodontists
  • Pavers concrete and more Free estimates
  • Snip's Tree and stump service over 25 years experience
  • Quality Eye care 25+ years of experience
  • Staverman Hearing Centers Hear loud and clear
  • Westminster Woods on Julington creek. Live well. Be Happy
  • Ackerman cancer center. We're here for your cancer treatment
  • Have questions about your medicare benefits? Call a SHINE volunteer.
  • Prudential Financial Planning Services with Andrew Laino
  • Vote for Dr. Erick Aguilar Republican candidate U.S. House Fl 4th district
  • Academy of Dance Open House & Registration August 19th and 20th 3pm to 6pm Classes start August 24th! Ballet, Pointem Jazz, Hip Hop Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Music Theatre, Vocal
  • Affordable Water
  • DIscount up to 30% Jim Register state farm agent
  • Nemetz Dental Associates! Your new smile awaits!
  • Havana Printing and office supply Call us today for all your cutome printing needs
  • Future home loans. North Florida's Premier Mortgage Expert Ryan Proffitt
  • Wild Birds Unlimited Nature shop. Have you watered your birds lately?
  • Legends of Real Estate call Kim Kessler
  • Harbor Chase Independent & Assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Immerse yourself in a rewarding community that enriches your body, mind, and soul.
  • Dont Forget to vote for John Turner School Board member
  • Lori Hershey for School Board, District 7. A school system we can all believe in.
  • Matt Schellenberg. Dependable Leadership for these challenging Times. School Board District 7
  • Concrete Works! Free Estimates, driveways, Patios, Walkways, Concrete removal, Driveway extension, Pavers
  • Family Remodeling Contractors! Bath, Kitchen &ADA Remodeling
  • Mobile Notary Service. 15 years experience, 24 hour services
  • River Garden Senior Services, However and whenever you need us we're here
  • Starlight Gymnastics! Our #1 priority is your children!
  • Sugar Bear Antique Mall Summer spectacular sale July 10th-12th
  • Baptist Health, Great tools for motherhood
  • A Green Cleaner, Free pickup and delivery to your home!
  • Luxury living and compassionate care come together at starling. Welcome Home.
  • Alive Credit Union Start banking healthier today!
  • Clara's Tidbits Now in Mandarin!
  • Brian E. Floro DMD, PA Dental services
  • JR Dental General, Specialty and Dental lab
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Railing Chiropractic & Acupuncture
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • HarborChase independent & assisted living Memory Care Mandarin. Your safety and peace of mind is always our Top Priority
  • Smart Choice Medical healthcare membership! No VoPay, No Deductibles, No Hassles
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021