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Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Year at ACS By Wendy Reber

Wendy Reber
My Year at Animal Care Sanctuary

I have been with Animal Care Sanctuary one year now. I was hired as Community Liaison to offer public education about our sanctuary, adoption, spay/neuter, and wellness programs. In September, I was made director of the Wellsboro facility that we rent, and ultimately 8/23/13, will be fully owned by ACS. I work closely with the development staff on specific venues for donor opportunities, and seek out ways to continue to bring the Wellsboro facility to the forefront in recognition and reputation for exceptional animal care. 

What I learn here daily is overwhelming and extraordinary. The avenues inside the animal world are endless, vast paths that contour themselves around one’s passion and compassion. I have learned the most from the animals; big, small, chunky, starving, fearful, alone, and humble. The common thread is trust. The shelter animals just want to be able to trust one human once more—and love follows close behind. Unconditional love, that is, regardless of the human’s bad mood, bad hair, bad breath, or bad sense of humor.

I have learned people want immediate satisfaction, and demonstrate a variety of rapid fire emotions such as frustration, panic, anger, coping, sadness, reason, and thankfulness…particularly when faced with surrendering a pet here at the sanctuary. We serve families who are faced with tragedy like death; illness; house fire or flood; a circumstance that rips the pet away from its family. We are a resource for animal cruelty and abandonment victims. It is up to ACS to find these deserving animals their next loving home.

The shelter should be the very last resort for a pet, a family member. Stories of a seven year old golden retriever who sheds so the man wants to shoot him now, or the ten year old yellow lab who’s become too aged to play, or the miniature schnauzer who’s nails click too loudly on the hardwood floor are just a couple of the thousands of stories we hear on a daily basis. It is hard to accept irrational behavior from pet owners. Some believe their time is too important to be strapped with such a burden as a four-legged friend. 

Why are they pet owners in the first place? This is the 10,000 dollar question. 

We listen to countless stories, ask a lot of questions, and document everything we can about the pet being surrendered to us, or waiting on our list for a spot to open up within our intake protocol for medical and behavioral assessment. You see, being a “sanctuary” means no-kill, which means we run out of roof real fast. We offer suggestions and guidance to do what we can to retain the pet within the household. We have a behaviorist hotline (570)596-2200 x 118 to help with specific problems; but sometimes the reality is , there is a much better home out there from wince they came; just to find it, and find it quickly. 

That’s where I come in; discovering more ways to gain our beloved animals’ visibility to the public. If your friend or neighbor is entertaining the idea of adding a new member to the family, please urge them to try their local animal shelter first. There are thousands of thrown away animals just craving a new, loving home. All ACS animals undergo excellent medical care to get them in tip top shape for the next chapter in their lives. No animal is placed or adopted without being spayed/neutered, up to date on their shots, and micro chipped.

It was a rewarding year. ACS Wellsboro adopted 147 pets in 2012, and 15 so far this year. Since the inception of our Community Care Clinic-West, we have performed spay/neuter surgery on 272 cats and administered 418 rabies vaccines. Our low cost spay &/or neuter surgery prices for cats is $40, and we often have specials running depending on the month. Starting March 14th, we will be offering low cost spay/neuter surgery for dogs, too! (Excluding super giant breeds.) On Valentine’s Day we are offering $5 Rabies vaccines from 2 pm to 5pm. First come, first served. March 23rd, we are offering a micro chip clinic at Tractor Supply in Mansfield. $25 per chip; cats or dogs. 10 am to 2 pm. And please save the date for Wine & Whiskers, July 20th from 5pm to 8pm…an adult wine tasting, auction bidding, fun way to spend a summer’s eve. The Callahan Brothers Band will be performing as you taste offerings from both Keuka Lake Vineyards of Hammondsport, NY and Shade Mountain Winery of Middleburg, PA. Tickets are on sale now $35.00 pp at www.animalcaresanctuary.org.

A sanctuary is just that; a kind, loving, caring place that is a safe haven for the discarded, the stricken, and the unfortunate. Many times the “unfortunate” are actually very fortunate to be safe with us, and loved by us. It is a place where caring people gather to share a passion in giving back to a cause they believe in. It is a place that is typically full, requires a lot of funding, does without, or puts bandages on elderly equipment to get by. It is a place that relies on and receives many, many donations from extraordinarily generous people; animal-loving people who see the big picture for the greater good of all animals; animals, who by no fault of their own, end up here.

 It is a place where the animals hold all the power, and where they are given a voice. 

We invite you all to come to Animal Care Sanctuary. Meet all our residents. Look around. Talk to the staff, the volunteers, the visiting school groups, scouting troops, our clinical harpist who plays for our post-op patients, the disabled man who is holding his first kitten, the high school senior completing her outreach project. Learn what goes on here…it is truly eye-opening, and it is my privilege to be part of ACS.

Wendy Reber
Wellsboro Director


Anonymous said...

Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
Anatole France

God Bless you for all you do!

Shirley Snyder said...

You are truly angels from heaven sent by God to take care of the helpless. Most people consider animals family members for they truly are a blessing. The others are just going thru life without the true joy of having someone love you you unconditionally. God Bless You All