Hill’s Pet Nutrition is recognizing volunteers who go above and beyond for homeless pets through their #HillsShelterHeroes contest. When we caught wind of this, we knew we had to nominate Fran Keough as our Shelter Hero!
Here’s her story:
For Suncoast Humane Society, Fran Keough epitomizes the word volunteer. Over the last five years, she has dedicated two days a week to volunteering in our cattery. In those two days a week, it’s truly remarkable what she’s accomplished and continues to accomplish.
Initially, Fran started out as a visitor’s assistant and a cat cuddler but has since taken on many different roles. During her time here at SHS, she has taken our cattery under her wing and has transformed it into what you see today. She not only spends her time cuddling and getting to know each cat but also creates, organizes, color codes, and classifies cage cards. She looks at each cat’s known (and unknown) history and really gets a feel for their personalities. After she tracks the facts, she makes lists for our staff on specific traits like: lap cat, cat friendly, dog friendly, kid friendly, age, and health. Fran’s lists have become a vital resource to our cattery because they take away the guessing game and make it easier for a family to find exactly what they’re looking for in a feline companion. Her lists also include what enrichment needs each feline has. Some need additional one-on-one quiet time to ease their fears, others like our sweet Goof Ball (yes that is his name) are high energy and need more time to run and bounce off the walls!
And then, there are the beds. Putting her gift as a seamstress to work, Fran purchases yards and yards of plush fabric to create beds for all of the cat cages in the cattery. Each feline rests on a soft handmade bed as they wait for visitors to pass by. These beds were so popular, Fran began making more of them for the shelter to sell to the public. From small crate sized beds for cats to extra-large beds for dogs, we have customers who buy them by the armful as presents for their pets and for their families.
Fran is a true leader. Not only does she jump in and do whatever is asked of her but she also helps others without being asked. She is warm and personable but what really stands out to us is her dedication. When she had to have surgery on her foot, she was told she’d have to rest and take it easy for a few months. But that didn’t stop her. As soon as she possibly could, she arranged to come in on a quiet day of the week. There she was strolling around in her wheelchair making sure that all of her lists were up to date and current. Taking time to rest and relax was just not in Fran’s vision. So with her extra time at home, she was on her sewing machine making beds for the homeless animals of Suncoast Humane Society. And of course, as soon as she was mobile again, she was right back with us… sharing her compassion for both animals and people.
Thank you, Fran Keough, for all that you do for Suncoast Humane Society and our furry friends!