Woman Working To Save Unwanted Pets Named Finalist In Contest

Woman Working To Save Unwanted Pets Named Finalist In Glamour Magazine Contest

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Rutgers-Camden junior Marissa Ionno was named a finalist in Glamour magazine's Reader's Choice contest to honor college women who make a difference Rutgers-Camden junior Marissa Ionno was named a finalist in Glamour magazine's Reader's Choice contest to honor college women who make a difference
CLEMENTON, N.J. -

A 20-year old woman from Clementon, N.J., who set up a Facebook page to save unwanted pets on shelter "death rows" was named a finalist in Glamour magazine's Reader's Choice contest to honor college women who make a difference.

"We've saved 42 dogs in just over six months," says Rutgers-Camden junior Marissa Ionno to FOX 29's Bruce Gordon.

"It warms your heart. It makes me so happy, I cry sometimes, because I changed that dog's life!"

Ionno figures she spends at least two hours a day linking dogs from hundreds of "kill" shelters all over the country with potential adoptive parents, through her Facebook page, "The Tails Network."

Things started out simply enough, for a 20-year old with two pooches of her own.

"I started volunteering at a shelter back in May," says Ionno. "I fell in love with the dogs. My first day home, I cried. I cried the whole ride home, because I thought, 'I can't believe those animals aren't going to sleep in a warm bed tonight.'"

So she did something about it.

The Tails Network allows anyone with Internet access to see pets on shelter "death rows"- not just those who live near a shelter and might stop in.

More eyeballs means a better chance for adoption.

"That's what it's all about," says Ionno, "making people feel like they can actually make a difference."

Marissa even helps arrange transportation to get the pet to the adoptive parents.

Among her success stories:

"Miss Lucy" went from death row in West Virginia, to a new home in New Jersey.

"Kerrick," a blind pit bull from Florida, was adopted by a Texas rancher.

And 11-year old "Biscuit" avoided a New York shelter when a family in Maryland came forward.

"They have so much love to give," says Ionno of the animals she's helped save. "They might need a little ‘TLC' because we don't know their past, but you're saving their life. There's no greater gift to that animal."

The Glamour magazine contest features online voting.

You can to go Glamour.com:

 - Click on "Get Inspired"

 - Then, click on the contest to see Marissa's story and vote for your favorite college woman "making a difference."

Marissa says if she wins, she'll use the $1500 prize money to expand her site and make it a registered non-profit.

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