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11/20/2012 1:17:00 PM
Much to be thankful for at Adopt For Life Center
Gary J. DeGeronimo, Sr.Executive DirectorAdopt For Life Center For Animals
Gary J. DeGeronimo, Sr.

Executive Director

Adopt For Life Center For Animals
By Gary J. DeGeronimo, Sr.
Adopt For Life Center

Well, that time of year is once again upon us. We will gather with family and friends to give thanks for what we have, where we are and what plans we have for the future. Most of us will meet on one day, Thursday, November 22nd, to celebrate this joyous occasion, eat lots of food, have some great laughs -- then grab the remote for parades and football.

I usually take this time to reflect on where I have been since last Thanksgiving, what positive changes I have made in my life and the life's of others. It's easy for me to ponder about the positive changes I've made in my own life. After all, I have one of the best jobs you can have. I get to hug a different dog every day, or snuggle with a new cat all the time. I work for a great community; I'm watching a wonderful community animal care facility, Adopt For Life Center For Animals, grow to become a model shelter, one that the Verde Valley can be proud of, and most of all, I feel I'm 'part of the solution'.

My job allows me to have the opportunity to see positive changes immediately. I get to see how the animals in our shelter change the life's of so many people in such a positive way.

For example, when the couple walked in the door and spotted "Koda", that beautiful Lab mix who had been sitting in the shelter for some time, and their eyes met, and once together how Koda buried his head in the chest of his soon-to-be new dad, and then a moist eye that dad tries to hide, and the three walk out of the shelter as a new family - boy, that's a positive change worth giving thanks for.

Then "Yogi" the cat who found himself wondering the streets until he ended up at the shelter all of a sudden sees his new mom and dad, and dad just can't keep his hands off him, and mom has a smile from ear to ear as they walk out the door as a threesome - wow, that's a positive change worth giving thanks for.

And I can go on and on about the life-changing stories I see at the shelter just about every day.

But there have been so many more reasons to give thanks this year.

Our thrift store, The Paw Boutique, is a fabulous place to shop. As the year goes on, it just gets better and better. Our new store manager Brian O'Connell is bringing new and exciting changes to the store that you all have to see. And as The Paw Boutique grows and succeeds as a great shopping experience, the assistance it gives to the homeless animals at the Adopt For Life Center grows. Stop by the store at 791 N. Main in Old Town Cottonwood; say hello to Brian and chat about the changes that are yet to come. Now that's a positive change worth giving thanks for.

Of course, The Adopt For Life Center has had some positive changes that we continue to be excited about. Our newest addition is Kelly Hall, the Animal Health Technician, who has been keeping a close eye on the health and welfare of our homeless dogs and cats. If you stop by the shelter, just look for the blur running from one end of the shelter to the other - that would be Kelly.

The new Canine Playground in front of the old shelter building has been a very positive change that allows the shelter dogs to run off-leash, chase a ball, throw a toy in the air, just have a great time.

The new positions of our Front Desk Coordinator, Debra Dale and our Kennel Supervisor Patty Christopher has added so much more organization to the shelter. And we cannot forget the addition of our new phone system which has made a world of difference in our every day operation. Now those are just a few positive changes worth giving thanks for.

And now I begin to think into the next year; what will I be thankful for by Thanksgiving 2013. Well, that's going to take some work. We need to concentrate on several areas of improvement including more volunteers for dog and cat socialization as well as thrift store help; working on some of the building improvements, creating more programs and resources for the community. Yes, we have our job ahead of us for the next 12 months so that we can look back and say, where have we been since Thanksgiving 2012, what positive changes have we made in our life's and the life's of others that we could really give thanks for.

OK, now where did you put the pumpkin pie and whipped topping?

Happy Thanksgiving from The Adopt For Life Center For Animals.

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