WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — As the executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, Colin Berry’s top priority is finding loving homes for animals.

Her love for animals began when she was a child and her parents helped her care for or seek help for injured animals she found.

She joined the organization in 2017 as development director and said their support was a big influence on her journey to care for unwanted pets.

“Animals are just a foundational force in people’s lives,” Berry said. “They alter the sense of hope and belonging, and for some people they give them a reason to live during difficult times.”

Berry said she continues to push a spay and neuter campaign as the population of animals rises. Despite long weeks at the Humane Society, she says her hard working staff, volunteers and donors keep her going.

“COVID really hit hard and veterinarians were only allowed to perform essential surgeries,” Berry said. “The economy made it difficult for many to have their animals spayed or neutered.”