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Chillin' Wit' Kathy McGuire, founder and president, NJ Aid for Animals

She's there for all creatures.

Kathy McGuire, founder of New Jersey Aid for Animals
Kathy McGuire, founder of New Jersey Aid for AnimalsRead moreJason Nark

SNOW IS FALLING hard outside Kathy McGuire's log cabin in South Jersey, and her dog, Bear, pops back in through a pet door for the warmth of the pellet stove.

Photos and paintings of dogs adorn the walls. On the kitchen counter, a cat named Moustachie rests atop a pile of old newspaper clippings that chronicle McGuire's efforts to make a better life for animals as founder and president of NJ Aid for Animals. The cabin in the woods in Winslow Township, Camden County, is a testament to her efforts: Its previous owners fought pit bulls in the basement.

"This is dried-up blood that won't come out," she says, pointing to a dark pattern on the floor, in what used to be a fighting ring.

NJ Aid for Animals offers doghouses to people who keep their pets outside, and many of them are scattered along McGuire's property. She leaves dry hay inside, just in case a stray or wild cat or red fox needs a warm bed for the night. She's mum on how many animals she owns.

McGuire, an Ohio native, spends a great deal of her time in Camden, she says, trying to change "macho" perceptions about spaying and neutering.

"That's our biggest challenge," she says.

McGuire's not afraid to confront people about their treatment of pets or their views on spaying and neutering, but said she never breaks the law to help an animal.

Still, her husband, Gary, an ironworker, worries.

"I tell her all the time to be careful," he says, watching the Eagles game.

The McGuires' 2003 wedding was nearly interrupted by a baby robin she found.

"I went and bought some worms and knocked on the neighbor's door and said, 'Hey, can you take care of this bird while I'm away?' " she says, laughing. "They looked at me like I was nuts."

- Jason Nark