What My Shelter Means to Me: Forsyth County Animal Control

February 15, 2012  

By Catherine Howe Bryant

I’ve been volunteering at the Forsyth County Animal Control in Winston-Salem, N.C., consistently for more than a year now, and my shelter embodies three main ideals to me: camaraderie, compassion and innovation.

Camaraderie: FCAC is a place where people band together from many diverse backgrounds for a common cause. The volunteers and shelter attendants I work with represent different ages, races, political views and socioeconomic backgrounds – but we not only work together, we truly enjoy and appreciate one another. We get together to laugh, to cry, to strategize about how we can do more, how we can save more. We know about each other’s families, each other’s pets, and each other’s hardships and triumphs. Despite our many differences, we are bound by a singular mission – to save lives together.

Compassion: It takes a special kind of person to work on the behalf of animals, but I can honestly say I’ve never met a group of more compassionate and devoted people than my team at FCAC. When a dog is running out of time, and we know it, we join forces on that animal’s behalf, spreading the word through Facebook, sending out mass e-mails, carrying around pictures of the animal to show to anyone and everyone we meet. And we’ve saved a lot of animals that otherwise wouldn’t have been given a chance that way. And, in the unfortunate situations where we can’t save an animal, we’ll take turns at the shelter simply spending time with them to make sure their last days are filled with love and affection. And in that scenario, when it’s over, we have a good cry together and move swiftly onto the next animal that needs to be saved. These animals mean the world to us.

Innovation: Let’s face it, shelter work is not always easy and no matter how hard we try, there always seems to be more animals than there are homes to take them. Thanks to two wonderful women, an initiative called “Project Pearl” was born and has been hugely impactful on our shelter. The idea was formed when two volunteers met a great dog at the shelter – even though Pearl was an adult dog, housetrained and had wonderful manners, some skin issues made her less than desirable, so she sat at the shelter for a long time. Luckily for Pearl, the volunteers sprang into action at the eleventh hour, gave Pearl a bath, prettied her up and gave her a proper photo shoot. Less than 24 hours later Pearl was adopted.

Now, with the donated time of local photographers, all of our animals at FCAC get glamour shots on a regular basis and are highlighted on Facebook, where fans help get the word out and find these dogs homes. Our adoption rate is up more than 30 percent since the start of Project Pearl just four months ago.

There are many worthwhile shelters and rescues I could choose to work with, but I couldn’t be prouder to be a volunteer at FCAC. The people, the animals, the programs – I am blessed to volunteer there, and the animals are certainly blessed to have such a devoted team working tirelessly on their behalf.

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2 Responses to “What My Shelter Means to Me: Forsyth County Animal Control”
  1. EnzosFosterMom says:

    Project Pearl– what a great idea!