Animal Care Center
In 2007, as the shelter was becoming an increasingly valuable resource in Franklin County, two new faces appeared, ready to help improve the lives of homeless cats and dogs. Drs. George and Ashley Bowers purchased Animal Care Center in 2007 and moved to Estill Springs from Charlotte, North Carolina. Sharing a great passion for rescue and animal welfare, the Bowers and Mandie worked together to help move FCHS to the next level in shelter development. All 3 collaborated with the FCHS Board to help reach the goal of having every animal spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter. The Animal Care Center leadership team created and helped implement several vital programs that allowed FCHS to improve the health and well-being of adopted animals in our county:
- ACC was the first vet clinic in the county to develop a low-cost spay/neuter program for shelter animals. At a time when gas prices were crippling everyone, this program kept shelter staff from transporting truckloads of animals to the Murfreesboro spay/neuter clinic several times a month, saving precious shelter resources and reducing stress on both animals and staff.
- ACC pushed for the shelter to microchip all adopted animals to help reduce the number of those returned to the shelter and help animal control reunite lost pets with their owners. The “15 for 15” program guaranteed that FCHS adoptees whose owners paid a $15 microchip fee (in addition to the pet’s adoption cost) would receive a 15% discount on all wellness care at ACC for the lifetime of the pet.
- ACC encouraged pet owner participation in the low-income spay/neuter program (financed in part by their donation of surgical services) to reduce the number of unwanted litters in the county.
- ACC developed an after-adoption care program to help ensure that shelter animals get regular routine veterinary care after adoption, starting with a free post-adoption exam in order to continue new-owner education on pet wellness and preventative care. This program was such a success that other veterinarians in the county now offer this valuable service to new adopters as well.
- Dr. Ashley, Dr. George, and their technical staff taught shelter employees to collect and process blood samples for heartworm testing and check fecal samples for intestinal parasites, and trained shelter employees on vaccine protocols, parasite prevention, and other shelter medicine protocols to aid in infectious disease control and help conserve shelter resources. They donated lab equipment and medications for the shelter staff to use in the detection and treatment of parasites, developed treatment protocol for ringworm and mange infections, sponsored shelter and ACC staff training in behavior testing for the Rescue Waggin puppy transport program, fostered litters of puppies for transport, and created distributor accounts for discounted medical supplies for shelter use.
In 2007, Mandie and her sister-in-law, freelance photographer Linda Reinholtz, came up with a fundraising idea to take pictures of pets on Santa’s lap. With only an old armchair for Santa, a tablecloth as a back drop, Linda’s personal photography equipment, and printing supplies donated from Animal Care Center...and Dr. George gamely dressing up as Santa...the “Pet Pictures With Santa” annual fundraiser was born! The result of this brainstorm spawned additional photo opportunities as well, such as Halloween Pet Pictures. “Pet Pictures With Santa” is now one of the longest-running fundraising projects for Animal Harbor still in existence, with Mandie and Linda organizing the event every year.
As the needs of the Harbor outgrew their old location on Highway 64 in Belvidere, Mandie and Drs. Bowers were asked to serve on the new shelter campaign committee, working to find a new building site and shelter plan. In 2012, ACC was the first local business to donate $10,000 to the Harbor’s Capital Campaign, which ultimately funded construction of the current shelter on Nor-Nan Road.
The animal health professionals at Animal Care Center continue to be so very important to the growth and development of the Franklin County Humane Society. Join us as, we say thank you to them for their many years of professional, financial, and personal support.