Heydi Acuna posing with a rescue dog at an adoption drive in Riverview. (Photo courtesy of Debra Garcia.)

By Debra Garcia

According to Shelter Medicine, over 300,000 dogs and cats were admitted to Florida shelters in 2020. More than half of these intakes were strays found on the side of the road.

Not to worry, a fairly new animal rescue has come to save the day. Introducing: Mercy Full Project (MFP). Started by Heydi Acuna, Mercy Full Project is an animal rescue that’s main goal is to spread empathy, kindness and love as humanely possible.

Mercy Full Project was founded by Acuna way back in October of 2019. Back then, the entire organization was inside her car. Now, over a year later, the Mercy Full community has blossomed with so many volunteers, a new location and more love for these animals than anyone can count.

“I’ve dedicated my whole life to help animals in need however I could and I was at a point in life where I couldn’t wait any longer and I wanted to start my very own nonprofit organization with my own ideas to help dogs and cats that need it the most,” said Acuna.

Acuna is not the only one who dedicates so much time and effort to Mercy Full Project. She now has many helping hands who all play a big part in the Mercy Full community.

“Sandra and Cherrise help with the internal work, answering emails and coordinating adoptions; we have Jessy, our newest member, helping with social media; and Miriam—she has been helping MFP since the beginning of December 2019. Also at the facility [are] our wonderful volunteers, Beth, Mackey, Dan, Claude,” said Acuna.

Even though the rescue was founded in Tampa, Mercy Full Project is very much present within East Central Hillsborough County. It has had many rescue drives in FishHawk, Riverview, Brandon and Valrico. Many of the organization’s volunteers live in these areas as well; take Melissa Lacey, a Valrico resident.

“After fostering several dogs and seeing them matched with loving homes and watching them transform from sad, frightened, sometimes emaciated, sick, sad souls to happy, healthy, loving and trusting dogs who had been given a new lease on life and the opportunity to live their best lives, I was hooked,” said Lacey.

Mercy Full Project is always looking for new volunteers and donations. What are needed most are new fosters.

For more information on Mercy Full Project, visit its website at https://mercyfullprojects.business.site/ or Facebook @MercyFullProject.

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