Meet Fran, our Shelter Hero!

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:

Fran - Shelter Hero Pic Collage

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!

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Can you lend a helping hand?

Grant (2)

“I have an undeniable passion for animals. I do what I do to keep them happy and safe.”

Grant R. – Visitor Assistant, 2 years of service.

Becoming a Visitor Assistant is one of the many volunteer opportunities we have here at Suncoast Humane Society. As a visitor assistant you will perform a variety of duties. These include greeting the public, escorting visitors throughout the adoption areas, assisting customer service by answering questions and meeting the needs of our visitors.

We are very fortunate to have volunteers like Grant who generously give of their time and skills to help us continue our mission to “reduce the number of homeless animals and improve the quality of life.”

If helping homeless pets while meeting new people with similar interests sounds like the volunteer opportunity for you, please contact Events and Volunteer Manager Jacqueline Elliott at 941-474-7884 or by email at jelliott@humane.org.

Can you lend a helping hand?

Cat Cuddler Volunteer Rosemary L (5)

“Lifelong passion to help animals.”

Rosemary L. – Cat Cuddler Volunteer, 3 years of service.

If you would like to help homeless cats find new homes, we have a volunteer opportunity for you! As a cat cuddler you will perform the very important duty of socializing the adoptable felines in our open cattery.

What does socializing our felines consist of? Well it’s pretty simple. All you have to do is provide them with love, attention, some petting time and basic grooming while they wait for their forever humans to find them and take them home.

If helping homeless pets while meeting new people with similar interests sounds like the volunteer opportunity for you, please contact Events and Volunteer Manager Jacqueline Elliott at 941-474-7884 or by email at jelliott@humane.org.

Can you lend a helping hand?

Dog Walker Volunteer Laura A. at Pet Supermarket Event

“Helping animals that can’t help themselves.”

Laura A. – Dog Walker Volunteer, 3 years of service.

Becoming a Dog Walker is one of the many volunteer opportunities we have here at Suncoast Humane Society. All of our dog walkers perform the very important duty of enriching and helping train our adoptable dogs while they wait for their forever humans to find them and take them home.

Each of our dog walkers is required to go through orientation and training to teach them how to properly handle our adoptable dogs. As a dog walker you will perform a variety of duties which include walking the dog, leash training, exercises and very basic obedience training.

Our volunteers are vital to the continuation of our mission to “reduce the number of homeless animals and improve the quality of life.” If you are interested in helping homeless pets while meeting new people with similar interests, please contact Events and Volunteer Manager Jacqueline Elliott at 941-474-7884 or by email at jelliott@humane.org.

Can you lend a helping hand?

Visitor Assistant Nan B (3)

“I volunteer because I love what Suncoast Humane Society is all about! Kindness, caring, and love!! So fortunate to be a part of this wonderful animal care center!”

Nan B. – Visitor Assistant, 3 years of service.

Becoming a Visitor Assistant is one of the many volunteer opportunities we have here at Suncoast Humane Society. As a visitor assistant you will perform a variety of duties. These include greeting the public, escorting visitors throughout the adoption areas, assisting customer service by answering questions and meeting the needs of our visitors.

We are very fortunate to have volunteers like Nan who generously give of their time and skills to help us continue our mission to “reduce the number of homeless animals and improve the quality of life.” If you are interested in helping our homeless pets while meeting new people with similar interests, please contact our Events and Volunteer Manager Jacqueline Elliott by phone at 941-474-7884 or by email at jelliott@humane.org.

We Appreciate You!

Count and Collect Critter Bank Volunteer Barbara C

“Love of Animals”

Barbara C. – Critter Bank Collector, 3 years of service.

Many of the volunteer opportunities available at Suncoast Humane Society are at our animal care center in Englewood. Other important opportunities focus on vital programs and services away from our shelter. Just like Barbara, you can help the homeless pets of Suncoast Humane Society by volunteering as a Critter Bank Collector or assist with other fundraising projects and events.

Critter BanksAs a fundraising volunteer you will help to solicit sponsorships, donations, and door prizes as well as assist at the fundraising events with set up, staffing and break down.

You can also become a Critter Bank Collector and collect proceeds from outside bank hosts. Assigned volunteers collect these “critter banks” on a monthly basis and the income from the banks helps to support the mission of Suncoast Humane Society.

We are very fortunate to have volunteers like Barbara who generously give of their time and skills to help us continue our mission to “reduce the number of homeless animals and improve the quality of life.” If you are interested in becoming a Critter Bank Collector or want to assist with other fundraising projects and events, please contact our Events and Volunteer Manager Jacqueline Elliott by phone at 941-474-7884 or by email at jelliott@humane.org.

We Appreciate You!

Cat Cuddler Volunteer at Petco Venice Jody T

“I love Animals!”

Jody T. – Satellite Cat Cuddler/Adoption Assistant, 2 ½ years of service.

Many of the volunteer opportunities available at Suncoast Humane Society are at our animal care center in Englewood. Other important opportunities focus on vital programs and services away from our shelter. Just like Jody, you can help the homeless pets of Suncoast Humane Society by volunteering as a Satellite Cat Cuddler/Adoption Assistant at our Satellite Adoption Centers located in Englewood, North Port, Venice, and Port Charlotte.

As a Satellite Cat Cuddler/Adoption Assistant you will work directly under the Satellite Adoption Coordinator to promote daily offsite adoptions for animals. Assist with the care of adoptable animals at Petco in Port Charlotte and Venice and/or Pet Supermarket in Englewood and North Port. This may include both adoption duties and housekeeping duties, including feeding and giving water to the cats, socializing them, and cleaning their cages.

We are very fortunate to have volunteers like Jody who generously give of their time and skills to help us continue our mission to “reduce the number of homeless animals and improve the quality of life.” If you are interested in becoming a Satellite Cat Cuddler/Adoption Assistant, please contact our Events and Volunteer Manager Jacqueline Elliott by phone at 941-474-7884 or by email at jelliott@humane.org.