What is a volunteer? When the Board of Directors of Animal Advocates met to decide who should receive the honor for 2007's Volunteer of the Year, there were many volunteers to consider. One volunteer stood out, though. Gail Posey. From the time she was a child, helping her mother (Marianne Morris) caring for animals in their shelter in Olar, she has been the epitome of a volunteer for the cause of helping animals. She knows no county (or state) lines. She volunteers at MAMAS (in Bamberg, named after her mother), volunteers for Animal Advocates (in Barnwell), and fosters animals for Animal Advocates and the Barnwell County animal shelter. She made two trips to the 9th Ward of New Orleans to help rescue animals after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
The Animal Advocates Volunteer of the Year for 2007
Why some do what they do ... I am an Animal Rescuer
My job is to assist God's creatures
I was bom with the drive to fulfill their needs
I take in helpless, unwanted, homeless creatures without planning or selection
I have bought dog food with my last dime
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid
I have fallen in love a thousand times
And I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body too many times to count
I have animal friends and friends who have animal friends
I don't often use the word '·pet"
I notice those lost on the road
And my heart aches....
FAIRFAX--The Allendale Correctional Institution (ACI) MuttMates animal rescue program played host to 18 dogs during the week of Christmas, who otherwise would have been destined to spend Christmas in the Friends for Life Center, owned and operated by The Animal Advocates and located in Barnwell. The animal hospitality also provided a much-needed break for the staff and volunteers there.
The Character-based Housing Unit (CHU) was transformed to a “canine nation” as Warden John R. Pate allowed 13 extra dogs to blend into the five-dog established dog-rescue program. In all 18 dogs were in the unit from December 23 through 30. Santa arrived with the dogs that were dressed for the holidays. During the week, the animals were also available to any inmate at ACI who would like to have a picture taken with them through the IRC fundraising efforts.
“The MeowMate/MuttMate Program with the ACI inmates is truly a win/win for all concerned,” said Vikki Scott, president of the organization. “When I visited ACI midway through the week, it was heartwarming to see the tails wagging and the residents smiling. Our staff and volunteers appreciated the opportunity to spend more time with their families, too.”
The Animal Advocates and Allendale Correctional Institution have teamed up to create a program where carefully chosen residents in the CHU are paired with a dog or cat from the shelter. In addition to providing basic love and attention, the handlers help socialize the animals. They interact with everyone in the unit, and they get to play with other animals to learn skills needed to make them more adoptable. Residents teach the dogs basic commands such as sit, stay, come, stop, lay, etc. The dogs and cats live in the cells with the residents, so they quickly become house trained, which again makes them more adoptable.
Warden Pate noted that the program has been a success in the past seven months, with several dogs and cats being adopted by ACI volunteers and staff.
On Tuesday, October 25th, The Animal Advocates were recognized at the annual meeting of The Barnwell County Chamber of Commerce. You are probably asking yourself why The Animal Advocates would be nominated, let alone actually receive the annual “Community Service” Award ……
Most people are aware that The Animal Advocates are an auxiliary organization that supports the animals of Barnwell County and the Barnwell County Animal Shelter and have provided the following programs for animals:
But what you may not know is that we help as many (if not more!) people than we do animals! How? Basically through our thrift shop, Pick of the Litter (POTL). As a non-profit organization, The Animal Advocates are dependent on donations. Therefore, in 2007, we decided to open a second hand shop to insure a constant means of income to enable us to bring our mission and goals to fruition. Our Pick of the Litter Shoppe has proven to be a great source of revenue for our organization as well as a great benefit to the animals and citizens of Barnwell County, and beyond…..
Unfortunately, at this time we do not have the money to do so, but after our Foster & Adoption Center is built and paid for, we plan to begin PHASE TWO of our complex, which includes The Teacher’s Pet Learning Pavilion. The Pavilion will include a resource room/library where we will house books about animals. Our Learning Center will provide educational programs that focus upon raising awareness among both our children and adult citizens about humaneness, compassion, and responsible pet ownership. We plan to offer summer camps, after school programs, field trips to our facility, and community service opportunities for our youth. By providing a “Community Center” atmosphere for all ages, community involvement will be welcomed and encouraged and our programs will be a win/win for both the animals and citizens of our community.
The Animal Advocates are honored to have been recognized by the Chamber of Commerce for our service to others. Making a positive impact in our community is both a privilege and labor of love. As we move forward, we will continue to seek new and innovative ways to provide diverse services in our community that are meaningful to BOTH the animals and humans.
The Animal Advocates need your continued support to achieve our goals. TOGETHER, we CAN make a difference!
A Friend for Life,
Vikki Scott, President