Puppy Love: Employees' Love of Animals Helps Support Local Shelters


“I wish I could take them all home,” says Michelle Meachem, surveying the dozens of dogs and cats nestled in their temporary home at the North Country Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NCSPCA) in Elizabethtown, New York. “If we don’t take care of these animals, who will?”

The proud owner of several boxer dogs and an all-round animal lover, Meachem has been volunteering at the NCSPCA since 2017, first serving as a board member before transitioning to a familiar role, as their liaison for human resources. When not volunteering, Meachem serves as director of human resources at UVM Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

"This is my community – it’s where I live, where I work and where I feel happiest,” Meachem says. “As it turns out, I’m not the only hospital employee thinking of ways to help our local animal shelters.”

Donating much needed medical supplies

As the facilities and environmental services director at Elizabethtown Community Hospital, Tom McCormick knows the shelf life of the hospital’s many routine medical supplies – things like saline fluids, sterile gloves, syringes or oxygen tubes. These items are often disposed of once they expire as they can no longer be used to care for patients.

“I always thought that there must be a better way to manage these resources and do so in a way that would also help those in need,” says McCormick.

Passing the local SPCA on his way from the hospital to his home in Peru, New York, McCormick recalled LuAnn Ward, a team leader in housekeeping, donating supplies to the SPCA.  And the idea hit him: Why not donate these supplies to help care for sheltered animals? “I figured it was the least I could do as a member of my community,” says McCormick, who has two dogs and two cats (one of whom he admits to spoiling over the others).

McCormick found an enthusiastic partner in Meachem, and today the two employees work together to deliver whatever supplies they can to local SPCA chapters. For their part, local SPCAs have welcomed these donations with open arms.

“Many of the animals we care for come to us after being neglected or abused, and many are sick, injured and needing veterinary treatment,” says Wendy Beeman Tibbitts, director of the NCSPCA. “We’re in desperate need of these supplies, and it has been wonderful to develop this partnership with the hospital.”

Recently, the NCPSCA took in more than 20 dogs that local law enforcement rescued from an abusive home. The donated personal protective gear – gowns, gloves, masks and booties – enabled shelter staff to care for many of the dogs who were ill with an infectious disease.

“We wouldn’t have been able to care for them otherwise,” says Beeman Tibbitts. “We’re incredibly grateful for the support.”

Meachem wouldn’t have it any other way. “It’s rewarding to give back,” she says. “If you love animals and are looking for a way to get involved in your community, the SPCA offers a really fulfilling way to do that.”

To inquire about supporting the animal shelter or adopting a pet, visit the North Country ASPCA's website for more information.