For the Love of Animals

Published by Sidney Meriweather

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” -Anatole France

Everyone can relate to this quote on some level; animals have a way of making us feel loved and comforted in moments of when we need it the most. They are constant and caring, and all they ask is that we show them the same constant care in return.

The staff and volunteers at the Georgetown Animal Shelter are dedicating their lives to care for our furry friends. I had the privilege of interviewing these passionate people about how the Georgetown Animal Shelter has impacted them.

Take a minute and read the about the passions, dedication, and a day-in-the-life of a few of these people who make the Georgetown Animal Shelter the organization that it truly is.

How did you get involved with the Georgetown Animal Shelter?

Animal Care Supervisor, Nika Gill, found her way to the shelter from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was seeking a change of scenery in a smaller organization and knew her passion was helping homeless animals and the community. Her change of pace from a large university over the last 8 months has been nothing short of perfect.

Animal Services Manager, April Haughey, worked in the Veterinary field and felt it was time for a career change. She enjoys the rewarding feeling of being able to help make a difference in the lives of animals and her new position with the shelter allows her to live out her passion. It’s a dream come true.

Volunteer, Diane Dancer, first became involved in January 2014, a short time after retiring and moving to the area. She wanted to become active in the community but also enjoy her commitments. She started volunteering in the cat adoption area and still takes pride in helping maintain an appealing atmosphere for each potential adopter that walks through the door.

Diane is proud of her “cat team,” but has grown in her responsibilities with the shelter. She now helps with the “Dog Walking Orientation Classes” for new volunteers. She says, “it has been such an honor and pleasure to spend time with like-minded people who are always striving to do their best in caring for the animals entrusted to them.”

What does a typical day at the Georgetown Animal Shelter look like?

Marketing Coordinator, Shawn Gunnin, gets to enjoy a work day that we all wish we could have. She said, “I work at the computer. Pet a cat. Answer Phones. Say hi to a dog. Repeat.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

However, the overwhelming answer to this question went something like this, “A typical day? I don’t believe there is such a thing around here!” While there are standard routines that the team follow each day such as, feeding animals, cleaning, sanitizing, updating the website and social media, every day at the shelter ends up looking different.

Nika Gill said one day a pet pig could be brought in and the next day 7 cats could come in all at once. April Haughey echoed her answer and added that regardless of each person’s duties, they are all there for the love the animals.

What is your favorite thing about the shelter?

Marketing Coordinator, Jessica Pierce, loves the atmosphere of their small shelter; where every staff member can tell you every animals’ name, age, and personality. They’re also in a great location, right next to a park for the dogs to go on walks. Everything from their ideal location to great partnerships inspires her love for the shelter.

The people, April Haughey said, were the best thing about the shelter. She said, “There is not one person here that isn’t committed to the work that they do. Everyone, no matter their role, from volunteer to staff member, plays a vital part in keeping our mission alive and ensuring that we are able to provide the best care possible to all animals that come through our doors.”

Volunteer, Debbie Thompson, agrees that the staff and volunteers caring about the animals is her favorite part. She says no one is just dialing it in, everyone is passionate about their role.

What are the animal shelter’s biggest challenges?

Nika Gill said, “The city of Georgetown is growing at a rapid rate and with only 14 dog adoption kennels, we are struggling to keep up with all of our intakes. There have been numerous times in the last couple of months where we have had dogs ready to be adopted but no adoption kennel open for them.”

April Haughey agreed and said the shelter’s biggest challenges are the size and lack of recognition. She said the city of Georgetown is working hard to ensure every area of operation has a plan to keep up with the growth, and her team is hard at work building brand awareness for the shelter.

Jessica Pierce helped shed light on a different challenge that the Georgetown shelter faces: negative breed stigmas. She believes it is imperative to get rid of these breed stigmas by taking out breed specific legislation and overcoming discrimination.

Overall, the shelter needs more of everything from a larger facility to more volunteers and staff if they are going to meet the demands of the city. They must also separate their brand from the Williamson County Shelter which is also located in Georgetown.

What is your favorite story from your time at the Georgetown Animal Shelter?

Shawn Guinn remembers when the shelter held a kissing booth for a dog named Dozier to help raise funds for a surgery he desperately needed.

Debbie Thompson always enjoys remembering the dogs she helped train. One adult, black lab, Montgomery, stands out because he was the shelter for months. By the second month, he was able to do the whole agility course and only needed a “Good job!” as a reward at the end.

April Haughey loves knowing that the shelter is making positive and direct impacts on the volunteers, staff, and animals. She also loves watching an animal survive a life-threatening illness or injury and seeing any animal that has suffered in the past become entirely different once they are finally loved.

How can you be involved?

If you’re like me, you want to know how you can help such an incredible organization. Giving doesn’t just have to be monetary (even though monetary donations at the shelter are welcome) but giving of one’s time can be extremely vital.

Go to the shelter and take a dog for a walk or pet cat that needs love. The Georgetown Animal Shelter has an outlet for us to love on animals who are desperate to find their forever home.

If you’ve ever been interested in working the shelter or are currently looking for a new furry-friend to bring home, please click on the following link for more information:

Georgetown Animal Shelter



PLEASE NOTE: The charitable entities and/or fundraising opportunities described herein are not endorsed by or affiliated with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Inc. or its affiliates. Our philanthropic interests are personal to us and are not reviewed, sponsored or approved by Cetera Advisor Networks LLC.

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