Bob Baker and his wife, Judy Ferrig, volunteer to socialize weekly with cats and dogs at Hope Animal Shelter. Baker is also the organizer of the Second Annual Tee Time for Hope.

If you are an animal lover and a golfer, a nonprofit will offer an ideal opportunity to indulge both passions at a course ranked among the top 25 statewide.

The Second Annual Tee Time for Hope is Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Highlands at Dove Mountain, 4949 W. Heritage Club Blvd. in Marana.

“This is a chance for people to experience a beautiful course and support Hope, which is a no-kill shelter,” said Bob Baker, tournament coordinator.

“We have an over-population of animals, and that creates issues for the publicly-supported animal shelters like Pima Animal Control Center.

“Hope takes in animals from PACC that are most likely to be euthanized. So we are saving animals that would otherwise not be with us.”

Hope, which was founded in 2005, also prides itself on accepting animals considered unadoptable by other organizations, including dogs with behavioral issues, feral cats and animals with medical issues. The cage-free shelter, which was once a house, dedicates bedrooms to dogs and communal living spaces to cats. The rooms are furnished with donated furniture, and the cat “community rooms” include built-in shelves where cats can explore and sleep.

“If we have room and the resources, we take in animals that will live with us for the rest of their lives. ... We try to set the rooms at Hope up as much like a home as possible, and we believe that having high places for our cats is a big part of enrichment. We provide a lot of enrichment for our animals,” said Susan Scherl, executive director.

Baker can attest to that.

Each Monday, the retired banker and his wife, Judy Ferrig, volunteer at Hope. They socialize with animals, groom cats and walk and train dogs.

“It is very rewarding. But the best feeling is when we get to Hope and look for a dog that we worked with last week and he has been adopted,” said Baker.

He and Ferrig welcomed two Hope rescue dogs into their family three years ago, and they strongly recommend that prospective pet owners consider adoption from Hope.

“We think it is great to have animals in our family, and Hope is giving people an opportunity to make a difference in an animal’s life,” he said.

Ultimately, he hopes that the upcoming tournament will provide another opportunity to impact animals. Proceeds from the event will help raise funds necessary to continue renovations of the shelter, which was flooded last July during monsoon season. To date, repairs have cost in excess of $30,000 and the project remains unfinished.

“We have already rebuilt all of the shelving for the cats. We still have a dog room that needs to be re-drywalled and other things that need to be completed.

“It is a lot of hard work, but it is totally worth it. The unconditional love and gratitude you feel from these animals by giving them a place to live is beyond compare,” said Scherl.

Editor's Note: The story was corrected to fix the day of the event, which is Sunday, Jan. 27.

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at ninch2@comcast.net