Some put their efforts into helping the dolphins. Others are wont to save the whales, baby seals or northern crayfish frogs.
But Joe and Amy Hayes, co-owners of Joe's Drum Shop, 1000 Mass., are scratching on a different philanthropic post they're into feline rescue.
"We would probably have 10 cats if we would have taken every cat brought to us or called about by now," Joe Hayes said. "At home we had four and we added two more. So at home we're at the saturation point."
Signs in the window of their downtown Lawrence shop advertise that the Hayeses will take in stray cats and that they have several available to adopt.
"The customers love them, especially the girlfriends or wives of drummers who come in," Amy Hayes said.
THE COUPLE started out a few months ago by taking in two cats from the Lawrence Humane Society. They had the cats neutered and found homes for them. Next, they helped two orphaned kittens find homes. And word of their efforts began to spread.
"What has happenned is people have found out what we are doing and they are bringing us all of their pets," Amy Hayes said.
"We also have a list of about five to six people now who have cats that they want to find homes for," Joe Hayes said.
On the counter in their shop, the Hayeses have a jar for donations labeled "Feline Rescue Fund."
Next to that is a sign that says "Help Joe's Drum Shop save local cats from death row by donating spare change or by adopting one of our cats."
"THERE WERE three things that got us going on this thing," Amy Hayes said. "First of all, we went on a trip to Austin and we went to a drum store there and saw a little cat running around."
She said they thought having a cat in the shop was a fun idea.
"We didn't think much more of it until we got back and we happenned to look in the Journal-World and see a Humane Society ad and saw it was sponsored by a local business," she said. "And we thought, well shoot, we should do something like that. We also saw the picture of the dog and thought, well, we should adopt a dog."
But the Hayeses settled on adopting a cat. And after some soul searching, they decided their shop could serve as sort of a "half-way house" for cats.
"I had just read something in a cat magazine how people do that sort of thing until they can be permanently adopted," Amy Hayes said. "So we thought that would be a good way of extending their lives because the Humane Society can only keep them for so long.
CURRENTLY, two cats, Linda and Pintka, are staying at the store. They originally belonged to a woman who moved and could no longer keep them in her apartment.
The Hayeses said the woman is providing for the cats' food and litter until homes are found.
But the Hayeses estimated they already have spent about $500 on the cats they've taken in during the last couple of months.
"We had a problem where we were getting desperate so we were just letting anybody who was interested in pets take them," Amy Hayes said. "In fact, these two cats we have now, we had adopted out, but we had found they were just living in horrible conditions."
The people who had adopted the cats apparently had let the cats go.
"It took us several weeks to find them," Amy Hayes said. "They were just roaming around in the neighborhood. So we've got them back in here."
SINCE THAT experience, the Hayses have been using an application form to screen potential pet owners.
"The main thing is we make sure they've taken care of a pet before and they understand what is involved and everything," Joe Hayes said. "The main thing is that we can get the cat back if there are any problems."
One of the questions the application asks is whether there are any smokers in the home.
"We just feel strongly against smoking in general," Amy Hayes said. "We understand that humans are obviously adversely affected by smoking with asthma and emphesema and feel the same is true for cats."
They said it costs about $100 to get a cat all of its shots and to get it neutered. After that, the cost is just for food and litter probably $20 a month at the most and for the annual shots.
The Hayeses say they wish they could find homes faster for the cats they have.
"The Humane Society said that 139 cats were killed in August alone here in Lawrence," Amy Hayes said. "It's just, like, well shoot, you just wonder if we're even making a dent."
"But we're trying," Joe Hayes said.