Middleburg – SAFE Animal Shelter stands out as one of Middleburg’s most-selfless community members. Residing in their current location since 2001, the shelter helps care for the homeless pets in …
Middleburg – SAFE Animal Shelter stands out as one of Middleburg’s most-selfless community members. Residing in their current location since 2001, the shelter helps care for the homeless pets in our community until they are placed into new homes.
Currently there are about 50 animals residing within the shelter walls, and 75-to-100 living in foster homes. The staff gets there at 8 a.m. every morning to feed, clean and walk the animals. The phone starts ringing as soon as they arrive – and it doesn’t stop all day – before doors open at noon. That’s when the staff gets even busier with adoptions, surrenders, and other pressing situations.
Amidst the bustle of an average day, the staff still finds plenty of rewarding moments that remind them why they do it.
“The most rewarding part is a happy adoption, especially if it’s a dog or cat we never thought would be adopted,” said Sherry Mansfield, who has been the director of the shelter for four years after leaving a career in teaching. “It makes us all happy to see them find a home.”
Last year the shelter adopted almost 1,200 animals, and it has a goal to re-home 1,800 this year. According to Mansfield, the shelter is already at double the amount of adoptions that it was this time last year, which makes the year look promising.
Representatives from the shelter attend many events around the community such as the county fair with some of their eligible animals to help them get adopted. Often, they can be found at local pet stores.
Mansfield urges people looking to adopt to really take into consideration the seriousness of adding a new family member to their home before adopting a pet. Potential adopters should consider the weight and breed restrictions of their living situation, make sure everyone in the family is on board with the new pet, consider the time commitment that goes into taking care of them, and be prepared to do some work.
“They don’t come ready-made. They take training, patience, and lots of love,” she said.
But when the right match is made, and a great pet finally finds a home, it can be a tear-jerker for everyone in the shelter. Mansfield said that it’s easy to get attached to some of the animals that come through, and so it’s very exciting when they get adopted.
“You can see it on both faces – the family and the dog – that it was meant to be,” she said.