A bond unbreakable

Posted on 01 May 2019

By Ashley White

There has always been a special connection between animals and me. Growing up, my pets ranged from dogs, cats, iguanas, horses, goats, and even some of my Granddaddy’s cattle that I insisted become “pets”. Between freshman and sophomore years of college, I became the mother of Elton, my longhair Chihuahua.

This decision was made pretty rashly and there wasn’t much consideration of the time commitment I was making or even the fact that I lived in an apartment that didn’t allow pets! My parents were convinced they were going to end up with a new dog. I managed to surprise everyone, even myself, and make it work.

A few months later, we discovered he was diabetic and would require extra time and attention to keep his health on track. I was even advised by a veterinarian to consider putting Elton to sleep. I think this was my first realization that caring for animals was something I felt strongly compelled to do, despite all of the warnings that it would be difficult and possibly too much on a college student.

While this love and dedication had clearly manifested itself, I did not choose to major in any particular career field involving animals. Nothing really seemed to be a clear path for me to utilize my love of animals in a way that felt right as a career choice. I settled on a Kinesiology major at that time and after college I had jobs in several fields.

Nothing felt just right. I had volunteered some of my time at the Bainbridge Humane Society trying to help with small fundraisers here and there and I always noticed it sparked something within me. When a job opening became available in 2013, I jumped at the chance to become a more regular part of the shelter. It felt like I had come home.

The work felt meaningful, even on the hardest days. I love seeing the second chances these deserving animals get at having a loving family and I love seeing the difference a new companion can make in an adopters life. I feel especially passionate towards helping the senior animals and special needs animals. I know firsthand how rewarding and special it is to make those types of animals a part of your life and I love being able to show others how extraordinary those particular relationships can be. I hope to continue to help the animals within our community in every way possible, to encourage our community to get involved, and to continually grow our shelter into something that Bainbridge is proud of.

As for Elton, the dog that really started this journey for me…. I’m happy to report that he just celebrated his 13th birthday.

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