Animal Rescue of Tracy recognized a group of student interns on Friday for their role in keeping the non-profit group’s West Valley Mall storefront running smoothly.

Julie Selner, president of Animal Rescue of Tracy, said that the interns make up a valuable part of the all-volunteer staff for the group, which opens to the public on weekends to adopt out animals.

Among them is Suraj Ganiger, who is working with Animal Rescue of Tracy to complete his Eagle Scout project for Troop 537 in Tracy. He said that in addition to his regular volunteer service he wanted to do something extra for the animals that the group serves.

“I’m a huge cat person. I love cats,” he said. “It’s very rewarding working with other people and working with animals too.”

He and fellow scouts built movable curtain racks, which provide privacy and isolation within the ART offices when people interested in adopting come to visit the cats.

“The curtains are just so that when people walk in (the cats) don’t get over-excited. It’s like a meet and greet room,” he said. “The curtains are just to provide the ease, calmness to them.”

He is also building cabinets that will help keep the space organized.

In addition to certificates of appreciation from the City of Tracy, San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and Congressman Josh Harder, the interns also received cash awards from Taylor Farms of Tracy, which usually gives out a few scholarships but this time wanted to give something to each one of the interns.

Interns recognized at Friday’s event said they’re glad to volunteer their time, including adoption days on Saturdays and Sundays when the foster families who care for the animals bring them to meet people interested in adopting, as well as adoption events at PetSmart. The interns also return during the week to clean up after a weekend’s activity and get ready for the next weekend.

Krishna Panjwani said that because his family doesn’t keep pets at home he likes to help out with Animal Rescue of Tracy when he can, usually as part of the Monday cleanup crew, focusing on the front area of the location.

Maya Panjwani also comes in every Monday to vacuum and sanitize the cat room.

“The little things that we do behind the scenes are as helpful as what we do in front,” she said. “Once all of the health and safety concerns are met. It’s important to make a difference in small ways like that.”

Caitlynn McNamara said she has volunteered with the group for many years.

“It’s an organization that’s really close to my heart. I love animals. We’ve adopted a lot of rescue animals too, so it’s really important to me.”

• Contact Bob Brownne at, or call 209-830-4227.

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