Main picture is Shannon Wood from the Niagara Falls Humane Society and former cat resident Miss Molly!
Hello and Goodbye… Hello, My name is Shannon and I was the Niagara Falls Humane Society’s Event Coordinator. Yes you read that right, was…
I am moving forward into a new direction, well old direction (I guess) considering I am returning to one of my passions, culinary arts.
A couple months ago I decided that I needed a change and what better change than to go back to school and learn more about one of your interests? I am quite excited to start this 3 year course since it is not just cooking and baking but also recipe development and chemistry which is something a little out of my comfort zone.
I would like to take a moment now to tell you about some of my favorite memories from over the past 4 and half years.
One of my favorites is when I had office kitties like Miss Molly (main pic) who was an overweight black and white cat that finally found a home after losing some of the much needed extra weight. She was quite a mouser which we found out when she scurried into the hallway and set her sights on a mouse hiding being a box. I also enjoyed having cats in my office at the AC, it really did make my day go by faster. (Pictured below, August, up for adoption now. For more information CLICK HERE).
When I first got to the shelter my office wasn’t ready like I was hoping but it actually worked out even better than I thought because it gave me a chance to build a relationship with Bill. I was able to understand his job as an OSPCA agent like never before. He was always so kind and so supportive of me throughout my time at the shelter and I am truly grateful for that. (Below, my first Christmas raffle)
Bonnie was also a huge part of my NFHS life. I first met her at one of our pasta dinners and thought that she was a really cool person. She was volunteering at the AC but we never really had a shift together. Over the years we have become the best of friends. I have watched her grow into such an amazing Manager and couldn’t be happier.
Jen and Ifer, our two RVT’s have been such a support to me especially when I adopted my cats. I was a brand new pet parent which I am assuming is a similar feeling to being a first time people parent. I didn’t know what I was doing at first, what was right, and why do they do the things they do.
Cathy has always been such a huge supporter of me and was the one that took a chance on me all those years ago. She was my rock at work and fellow soldier. I will miss our doorway conversations and how we just knew what each other was thinking without saying a single word.
I will also miss James’ laugh coming from down the hall, it also made me smile. (Pictured below, Rufus, a Guinea Pig looking for a new home. For more information CLICK HERE).
I have really grown fond of Kaitlin and know that she is on the right track to become an amazing OSPCA Agent. She not only has the people skills for it but also the passion for animals which is so important in this field. I would consider her my left hand at the shelter. If I need anything she is right there for me. I also have a right hand and that would be Tess. She is a real treasure at the Humane Society and has become one of my good friends along the way. You can see her love for all animals on a daily basis.
Jill who is our Vice President is such an amazing lady and so supportive of me and my fundraising efforts and I am so happy that I was able to get to know her.
Dave McMahon has really helped me along the way. Who would have known that years ago when I was asked to be on his show when Cathy couldn’t make it would blossom into such an amazing relationship. I have learned so much from him about dogs and why they do the things they do.
I am leaving knowing that I have made some amazing friends to add to my family! (Miss Walker, pictured below is a lovely hound mix who is looking for someone to adopt her…could it be you? For more information CLICK HERE).
There are so many more people that have helped me along the way, more staff, volunteers, board members but most importantly my family. My mom and dad have been my support system since I started. They can often be found at any and all events that I have done from the simple bake sales to the more complex silent auction. They are always up for anything that my little heart desires. They support me with love and kind words for whatever situation I am in.
Speaking of family I have also adopted my first of 3 cats from the shelter, Soleil, which I am sure everyone knows about but if you don’t she was a black senior cat that was overweight. When she came to the AC she was over 23 lbs. and refused to eat. She then got upper respiratory not once but twice. It will sound weird but when she was getting her medication done every day she had this look in her eye that told me that she needed me. Long story short I took her home and it was one of the best things that I have ever done.(Below, Soleil)
Not long after that I took home Mrs. Whiskers who was a mom cat living on the streets. She waited at the shelter for over 6 months as no one wanted to take home the senior cat so, surprise I took her home. My next addition was Wilford Brimley who is a white persian cat. At first Soleil wasn’t a fan but she has really started to warm up to him. Lastly I brought home a very timid hedgehog that I named Mr. Popcorn Pricklebottom. I am very happy with the progress that I have made with him over the past few months. He has really learned to come out of his shell. (Pictured below, Chester who gets along well with other cats. For more information CLICK HERE).
One of my favorite fundraisers that I was able to be a part of and actually run it the following year was Ruff Night. Ashley and Nicole had this wacky idea and I was very eager to be a part of it. Tessa who was our receptionist at the time suggested that I spend the night with Fozzy who was a very timid dog. He would constantly spend his time outside. When I went into his kennel it did take quite a while for him to warm up to me, I used treats and a happy tone of voice, after a couple hours of this he was in the kennel with me and letting me pet him. By the evening he was curled up under the blanket with me while I read a book. I was so happy with his progress! I think that is when I really started to fall in love with dogs. The following year I had Sophie who was a super sweet beagle/basset hound mix. She loved me! I remember when the Ruff Night was over had to leave her and she whined the entire time I was leaving. It got to the point where I couldn’t even go down the dog run without her losing her little mind. Even if a dog walker was taking her for a walk or if a potential adopter was taking her for a walk she couldn’t see me, because if she did she would make a b line right for me and refuse to go with anyone else.
Pictured below, Ruff Nite with Will and Sophie)
Another fundraiser that I really enjoyed doing and was quite memorable was the annual Christmas raffle. I remember the Adoption Centre volunteers having a meeting and Cathy saying that there was no one that wanted to step up to organize the raffle so I was like “Oh, I’ll do it” and I did. At the time I was volunteering for less than a year and was ambitious enough to take on the raffle. The first raffle I was able to raise over $5,000.00 and each year that I ran it we made more and more.(Pictured below, please consider Carlos who has been at the shelter longer than anyone. For more information CLICK HERE).
One of the events that we did at the shelter which was a great feel good was the Blessing of the Animals at the shelter. I brought my hedgehog each year and loved how everyone was so intrigued by my little critter.
Other small critters that I am fond of are bunnies. Funny story about bunnies, we had one at the shelter named Tugboat (pictured below) and I got my picture taken with him that was going to use for one of my articles. Well after the picture was taken I started to get itchy and red. Turns out I am allergic to bunnies. Who would have thought.
These are only a small fraction of the memories that I have there are so many more that I will cherish. I am so thankful for the opportunity that I was given all those years ago. I will continue to be a part of the shelter just in a much smaller way. You will still hear me on the radio and in some of these articles. I just want to take some time to focus on myself, my critters and my school so this is not a forever goodbye but instead a goodbye for now.
This week’s column written by Shannon Wood
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