We’re incredibly proud to have sponsored Daniel’s attendance at the Midwest Animal Sheltering Conference in Columbia, MO! In this special edition of Shelterluv Stories, we interviewed Daniel to learn more about his animal welfare journey so far—and what he plans to do in the future.
How did you get involved in animal welfare?
I got my undergraduate degree from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. A requirement to keep my scholarship was to complete 120 hours of community service by the end of my junior year, and I completed about half of those hours through C.A.R.E.
I went to Texas A&M University for graduate school and rescued two pit bulls while I was there. I came back to work at Missouri State, and although I did like my job there, I knew I wanted to apply to C.A.R.E. when I saw the open position. I have always been passionate about helping animals, and C.A.R.E. was my favorite animal welfare organization, so it was just a perfect opportunity!
What is your role at C.A.R.E.?
I am the Volunteer Program and Events Manager. I am responsible for recruitment, training, scheduling, retention, and communication with volunteers. I am also responsible for planning some of our events with the help of our Events Committee, and supporting others as they plan events on C.A.R.E.’s behalf. I make our quarterly newsletters, do much of our design work for printed materials, and assist with events/volunteer content for our social media channels.
Any particular animal success stories that you’d like to share with us?
I adopted my third pit bull, Oreo, from C.A.R.E. earlier this summer. He came to C.A.R.E. around August 2018 after he was surrendered to animal control. He was at our adoption center when I first started at C.A.R.E. on October 15, 2018. He was causing a lot of destruction in his room and misbehaving, so he actually went back to the C.A.R.E. farm sanctuary in November for behavioral training. In February, he came to our Find Your Soul Mutt adoption event and when he got to my husband Aaron’s table, Oreo ran right up to him and put his head in his lap. We talked about it for a long time and decided to give it a try. He came to us as foster-to-adopt in April and we decided to adopt him once we knew he’d get along with his new sisters. He actually turns 2 on October 19, the day of the conference!
When we first got Oreo, he was super energetic for a few weeks, but he’s really settled down. He’s still a puppy and has some things to learn, but he’s super smart and he’s going to be a really good boy.
Another memorable moment was when C.A.R.E. rescued 22 neglected horses that were abandoned on a small piece of land and transferred them to the C.A.R.E. farm sanctuary. As soon as they were unloaded from the trucks, they began to open up. We posted pictures of the horses right when they were rescued on our Facebook page.
My (and many others’) favorite C.A.R.E. dog since I started at C.A.R.E. is a brown pit bull named Brutus. He came to C.A.R.E. on November 16, 2018, and didn’t get adopted until August 5, 2019. He waited so patiently at the Center to get adopted. Springfield has breed-specific legislation against pit bulls, and Brutus had a few specific requirements that made placement a bit more difficult. He had multiple home visits that never ended up working out, to no fault of his own. He is such a good boy and had the sweetest face. When he was finally adopted, our staff and volunteers were all so happy!
What do you hope to learn at the Midwest Animal Sheltering Conference? Is this your first time attending?
This will be my first time attending! I plan to go to as many sessions as I can that will help us ramp up our volunteer program and fundraising efforts, since we are in the middle of a capital campaign. I’d love to learn about programs that have been successful at other organizations and that have led to increased adoption numbers, shorter stays, and community education.
Is there anything that you wish more people knew about working in animal welfare or about pet adoption?
It’s hard work. It’s not just cuddling up on cute animals. It can be very sad to see animals at their worst when they first come to us, but very rewarding to see those same animals recover and go home!
What are some special projects or initiatives that you are working on right now at C.A.R.E.?
We are currently running our capital campaign for our future Pet Services Center. An anonymous donor helped us purchase a building in southwest Springfield, and we’re going to renovate it to provide low cost services to low-income households and seniors, including a vet clinic, food pantry, grooming, community education, adoption space, and much more. The goal of the Center will be to reduce the number of owner surrenders, which will reduce the number of animals on the streets and in shelters, ultimately lowering the kill rate in the region. Our goal is to raise $750,000 and we have a matching donor up to $500,000! You can learn more about it by visiting our website.
Our 385 acre farm sanctuary is located in Aurora, MO, and provides life-saving rehabilitation and lifetime care to all types of animals. No matter what their history may be, our sanctuary gives these animals the freedom and quality of life they deserve in a peaceful place where transformations happen when animals realize they are safe and loved. We provide medical care and nourishment, along with mental and physical therapy, giving these animals a second chance at life. Our sanctuary houses cats, dogs, horses, pigs, goats, donkeys, cows, rabbits, and probably more at any given time!