Local Heroes: Manatee Animal Shelters & Sherri Proctor

This is a story about Animal Shelters in Manatee County and a woman that helps them.

If man’s best friend is a dog, then why do some many of them end up in animal shelters?  I read a story which stated that a dog in NYC was dropped off at an animal shelter to be euthanized: because he had fleas. 

Animals are not a disposable commodity; they are living, intelligent, beings and do have feelings.

These animals need homes, they need to be adopted.  I have become acutely aware of the plight of animals such as these through a Facebook connection with
a friend from high school, she regularly posts pictures of dogs in dire straits;
immediate adoption or being put to sleep. She loves animals and is passionate
about trying to save them. There are many others out there just like her
posting pictures of animals in need of adoption.

This is not just a local issue, it is a national dilemma.

Maria Milito , a classic rock DJ on Q104.3 in NYC, is on the air from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. I told her about this article and asked if she could provide me with some words of wisdom in regards to it. She is very active in trying to get animals in shelters adopted. 

This is what she said:

“Millions of dogs and cats wind up in shelters due to circumstances out of their control and not because they’re damaged goods. It might be a myth but I do believe rescued pets know you saved them when you found them and become extra special family members. As the saying goes: ADOPT DON’T SHOP.”

On a local level, an internet search revealed listings on the yellow pages of
more than 17 organizations in Manatee County and Sarasota County  that deal with unwanted or abandoned animals. To their credit in 2011 the Manatee
County Animal Services
instituted a policy and a plan to become a “No Kill
Community.”  Lakewood Ranch is also a “No Kill Community.”

Animals in shelters need to be photographed for purposes of identification and adoption. It is all too often the case that a picture will make the difference between life and death for some of these abandoned pets. The quality of the photograph makes an immense difference. The capability of the handler and photographer, working hand in hand at a shelter, in getting the animals to look cute and lovable, is an absolute imperative. 

What these animals need is someone who cares.

Sherri Proctor is a person who cares.

I met Sherri Proctor at a Networking for Nonprofit meeting in Bradenton. Sherri is an animal lover and a professional portrait photographer with Sherri’s Island Images. She donates her time and skills to take pictures of animals in
shelters.  She has told me these dogs and cats appear “with their ears flat, pathetic looking, and scared to death.”  She has also told me that  “the hardest part is walking away without bringing somebody home.”

She relayed another story to me about a dog she was trying to photograph.  Once the dog was out of the cage it wanted no part with going back in, struggling with all its might to be free.  It sounds almost human…

Maya Angelou said: "I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.”

Animals also need heroes. Sherri is one such person filling that role.

NOTE:  Sherri has a family and a business. As an entrepreneur she also participates in several networking groups.  So what does she do in her spare time?  Right now she is in training to run in next week’s Walt Disney World
.  Training to run in a 26.2 mile marathon is akin to having another full time job. Her efforts will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma  Society.

Besides a lifelong desire to run in a marathon, she is also motivated by a more personal experience. While she was carrying her daughter, who is now 20 years old, she had a neighbor who was also pregnant. Her neighbor’s husband was diagnosed with lymphoma. Sherri watched as his condition worsened, not only from the lymphoma but also from the chemotherapy. She realized that he might not be around to be with the daughter his wife was carrying.

Fortunately he is alive and well, but it left a lasting impression on her.  Sherri Proctor is a person who also cares about people.

Sherri Proctor, resident of Bradenton, is an everyday hero, a local hero.

 Donald C Czaplinsky
www.donaldcjuiceplus.com donczap4u@hotmail.com

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