In the community: Fulton County SPCA rescues, reconnects and finds new homes for dogs


gLOVERSVILLE — Growing up in Amsterdam, Renee Earl has always loved animals.

So when a friend suggested she join the Fulton County Regional SPCA ten years ago, she jumped at the chance.

“I started attending meetings and the rest is history,” said Earl, 48, a Gloversville resident who is now SPCA president. “I’ve been here forever.”

The organization originally started as Regional Animal Shelter in 2002 before becoming the Fulton County Regional SPCA in 2019.

The nonprofit shelter, which is run entirely by volunteers, is different from others in the county and neighboring counties because it only serves the town of Gloversville.

“Which has its pros and cons,” Earl said.

Because the organization is run by volunteers, its shelter operates on a morning, dinner and bedtime schedule, with some volunteers coming during the day if their schedule allows.

“But we don’t have permanent staff on site,” Earl said.

Volunteer Alexandra Jackson describes herself as an “all things schlepper” within the organization; pick up, store and distribute supplies. She also works the Friday night shift.

“Bedtime is usually a great opportunity for some one-on-one time with each of our dogs, they all spend time outside doing their business, their beds pumped up and a bedtime snack” , she said. “The general energy at the shelter tends to be more relaxed around bedtime, the dogs know the routine and relax for the night.”

Because bedtime isn’t always assured, Earl said dogs prepare for a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. environment when adopted due to a schedule.

The shelter is also small compared to other organizations: it has only eight kennels.

“We are never empty,” Earl said. “There’s never a time when we don’t have dogs.” Between Aug. 1 and Wednesday, the SPCA brought 21 dogs into the shelter just in Gloversville. Of those 21 dogs, 13 were bought out by families, Earl said.

Earl said they also assist the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department whenever possible if the department requests it.

There were times when dogs were taken in by some volunteers because the shelter was full.

“We weren’t euthanizing for space,” Earl said. “Even if we are full, we implore foster families or ask other organizations to help us, but we won’t remove them just because we are full.” These values ​​are the reason Jackson said she became a volunteer.

“The welfare of the dogs is the top priority at Regional, which really spoke to me,” she said.

When dogs are not picked up by their owners, they are put up for adoption. Seeing the dogs being adopted is the greatest feeling for Earl and Jackson.

“Knowing that someone has found their perfect family member and it may have taken a little longer, but it’s absolute love at first sight, there really isn’t anything better than that,” Earl said.

Jackson said she loved seeing text messages, social media posts or Christmas cards from families who have adopted dogs.

“Dogs on couches and hikes and in family photos that clearly show they’re safe, they are loved and that we have done our job to prepare them to live fabulous lives once they leave it to us,” Jackson said.

However, work also has its difficult moments. For Earl, one of the hardest things about the job is the negative comments people make on social media about the organization or its volunteers.

“It’s like a knife to the chest,” she said. “It hurts and we are all here giving our time, our hearts and our money to try to make a difference. We know we can’t control what other people do or say, but it’s very disheartening when you’re trying to work so hard and so many people are commenting.

Then there are the difficult cases that the volunteers deal with.

“The hardest part is dealing with the situations that you can’t resolve,” Jackson said. “When we are legally forced to return a dog to an owner who we know is unwilling or unable to care for it properly.”

Jackson said state and national laws are inadequate.

Earl said that to help volunteers through difficult times on the job, the shelter has partnered with the Family Counseling Center of Gloversville to provide trauma counseling.

“We just started this service because I saw how broken the volunteers were getting, how exhausted they were getting,” Earl said. “So I thought it was very important to seek proper help on how to deal with these emotions.”

Now volunteers are learning coping skills and Earl is planning more staff wellness days that include activities such as hiking.

But above all, Earl said, you have to remember the good times at work, the happy times, the ups.

“The times when we have these horrible raid situations and you have a dog that’s so scared you can’t touch him and then one day he just lets you put your finger on his nose, it’s unbelievable. because a month ago it wouldn’t. It didn’t happen,” Earl said.

Earl said the organization is always looking for volunteers and accepting donations. People can apply to volunteer and donate on the SPCA website at People can also send donations through the mail, Earl said. His mailing address is 117 West Fulton St., Gloversville, NY 12078.


Comments are closed.