This month, we decided to highlight two special individuals as our Humane Heroes of the month.
Denise and Dwayne Mento are both this month’s nominees for Humane Hero for their passion for helping animals and their volunteer efforts with the Humane Society of Macomb.
About Denise and Dwayne
Denise and Dwayne are from Chesterfield Township.
Denise retired from Macomb County in December 2019 after 33 years of service as the Investment Assistant for the Treasurer’s office. Right now, Dwayne is a project manager for AKA Architects in Rochester.
They currently have three cats. Morgan is 17 years old. Their cat Asparagus (Gus) is a year and and a half. Kusko, their youngest cat, is a year and two months old.
“They are all our babies,” Dwayne said.
How They Started Helping Animals
When asked about how they both got started helping animals, Dwayne said, “We both wanted to get involved with some type of charity work and came across the Humane Society of Macomb.”
Both Dwayne and Denise have a passion for animals and liked the fact that the HSOM is a local, community-funded charity.
Their interest in helping animals stems from the need for someone to speak up for animals in need. “Animals always need somebody to speak for them. They always give without asking for anything in return except being kind to them,” Dwayne said.
Dwayne and Denise started volunteering at the Humane Society of Macomb in 2019.
In 2020, Denise worked at the shelter as a part-time volunteer coordinator until they hired a full-time person.
“As we know 2020 was kind of an off year for volunteering as the shelter was closed to the public due to COVID restrictions. This year has been much busier with volunteer opportunities such as the Easter Bunny pictures, garage sale, car wash and working the gates at Arts & Apples in Rochester,” Denise said.
Since Dwayne has a busy work schedule, they like to volunteer to help with the events at the shelter because they are in the evenings or on weekends. “We like the fundraising aspect because the shelter can use as much donations as possible to take in and care for the abused/abandoned animals that are surrendered to them,” Denise said.
When asked what makes them see that all their time volunteering is worth it, they said, “When the animals finally find their furever loving home.”
Most Memorable Moments and Future Plans
Denise and Dwayne’s most memorable moment is when they adopted Gus and Kusko from the shelter and brought them into their home. Gus was at the shelter during the COVID shutdown and had a bad upper respiratory infection.
“He was brought in by himself and was just an itty-bitty little thing and wouldn’t eat. So, on days I worked I would bring him to the desk in his fleece blanket and feed him with my finger,” Dwayne said.
Once they brought Gus home, they realized the two older cats wanted nothing to do with a kitten. At that time, they had an older cat named Dudley who was 16. Denise and Dwayne then adopted Kusko who they described as “a little wild child.”
“It was the best thing because Gus and Kusko are like a bonded pair, the older cat got some peace, and they made us laugh when things seemed to be turned upside down in the world,” they said.
When it comes to the shelter and future plans, they both plan on continuing to volunteer as much as they can.
The next big thing they are working on is the annual Dogstravaganza fundraising event on November 12th at Palazzo Grande. Dwayne is the chair of the fundraising committee this year.
Dogstravaganza keeps them busy for months leading up to the event trying to get sponsorships and donation items for the raffle. Working with the other volunteers on the committee and trying to keep everything organized keeps them busy too.
“We would like to give a big thank you to all the volunteers on the committee because this is our 3rd year working on Dogstravaganza and we have one of the best groups,” they said.