Recently, I met with a lady who raised a lot of money for the Commerce Library. I really wanted to pick her brain about how she did it and find out what her thoughts are on the shelter project. I left there feeling very encouraged. While I was talking with her, she asked me why I became involved with HSJC and the shelter project. I never realized that this was important to people and I, honestly, don’t want people to think that I am some crazed animal rescue worker so I usually don’t share it. However, it was mentioned that my story was critical to the project and that I needed to share it. So, I will tell you my story….

When I graduated college from Middle Tennessee State University, I moved to Athens to obtain my master’s in Poultry Science. After I graduated and found a job in a hatchery, I moved to Jackson County in 2007 – it was a halfway point for my job and my husband’s job. I have always been a dog person. I grew up with golden retrievers and a boxer and in 2007, I had two boxers of my own. I started looking around for some way to get involved and realized that Jackson County does not have any type of animal shelter. I couldn’t believe it! I just thought that was a standard amenity in every county. I started volunteering with HSJC in the Fall of 2007. I worked a few adoption days and festivals – my first event was Turtle Trek in Jefferson and I have this great picture of me holding a foster puppy! I didn’t know my role in HSJC, but I knew that I needed to help this organization get an animal shelter built. The next winter, I was asked to sit on the PetFest committee. I had so much fun! It turned out to be a great event and I loved it. For the next three years, I would occasionally foster and attend adoption days, but PetFest was my forte! My second PetFest, I was eight months pregnant so that was a challenging year. Exactly a month later, we were blessed with the most perfect little baby and she totally rocked my world! I went back to work at the hatchery when she was 12 weeks old and I STRUGGLED with leaving her and working such terrible hours. I realized that I needed a change and started looking into non-profit work. I heard a rumor that there might be a position opening up with HSJC and that I might want to wait a bit before I made any changes. I quit work in January and decided to pursue my PhD (that I had been working on for several years) full time. After spending months at school and the farm, I realized my heart wasn’t in school and I heard they were interviewing for the shelter campaign director. So, here I am today! I got my dream job and hope to make a huge difference for Jackson County.

Why do I think Jackson County needs a shelter? An animal shelter is a community resource that our county is lacking. Not only, do the citizens not have a location to take stray and unwanted animals, but there isn’t anywhere to adopt animals. I have had at least 3 strays wander up in our neighborhood and I hear the same stories from people all the time. The CITIZENS of Jackson County need an animal shelter, but the animals need a safe haven too.  I realize that you can’t save them all and I think I am very practical about animal rescue, but the animals of Jackson County need a better option than what is available right now.

What is your story? Sharing your story about the importance of an animal shelter and your interest in the betterment of our county is one of the most important things you can do to help the campaign. One of the easiest ways to do this is to open your home, invite your friends over, and talk about the shelter project. Surely, you know 10 people who are animal lovers who need to know what is going on. Let’s get together and talk! Feel free to call me to set up a meeting and we will get started sharing the message of our need for an animal shelter.  What action are YOU going to take to help make this shelter a reality? I challenge each of you to not be indifferent to the lack of animal shelter resources in our county.

Ginger, my first foster dog, showed up with a hole in her chest, sarcoptic mange, and extremely skinny! I nursed her back to health twice and she now has an amazing family.


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