By Wyndi Kappes
Samantha Shelton is a single mom who has made a difference in the lives of animals and people alike. Shelton’s passion for animal rescue was sparked 20 years ago when she saw a mother cat and her kittens in her backyard. This experience led her to start Furkids, a no-kill animal shelter that now houses hundreds of animals with the help of more than a thousand active volunteers of all ages and walks of life.
Over the years, she has seen firsthand how the loving bond between animals and people enhances the lives of those who experience it. Because of this, for many years Shelton has welcomed children to volunteer at Furkids, so they can learn how to properly care for animals and connect with them. Through her work, she is proud to have changed the lives of animals, their adopters and the volunteers who care for them.
“A young girl who started volunteering with us at the age of nine quickly discovered a love for animals and veterinary medicine. This year, she will graduate as a veterinarian. Because I started Furkids and include people of all ages and walks of life to join us in service, I get to see firsthand how it betters people’s lives and shapes their futures. She found her calling, just like I did, and so many others have,” says Shelton.
As a single mother, Shelton faces many challenges in balancing the demands of her work and family. However, she focuses on the quality of the time she spends with her daughter rather than the quantity. She has also found it helpful to invest in the people around her, including her daughter’s friends and teachers, and to make them part of their lives. This has helped her to build a strong support network that has been a successful strategy in her household.
Shelton’s passion for her work with Furkids is fueled by her love for animals and people and her belief that it is her life’s calling. “Each day I wake up excited to get going and see what difference we can make today in the life of an animal or person that needs us,” Shelton said. “There is nothing more rewarding.”