A blog by the friendly folks at Midland Humane Coalition
A blog by the friendly folks at Midland Humane Coalition
Thank you, Steg, for sharing your time, stories & photos with us! The MHC Board and staff appreciate everything you have done to help Midland Humane Coalition become the organization it is today. You were truly instrumental in saving and enhancing so many pet lives!
How and when did you start at MHC?
In 2011, the Midland Humane Coalition, and Midland Animal Services, City of Midland, entered into partnership with PetSmart Charities, and embarked on a journey to save the lives of healthy and adoptable abandoned animals in the community, with the ultimate goal of making Midland a "No-Kill Community''.
In August, 2011, I was approached by Shirley Webb, one of the first Board Members of the MHC while I was employed at the Midland SPCA. Through Shirley's and her family's volunteer work at the SPCA, she was aware of my love and passion for the animals, and my background in business. She asked that I apply and interview for the Executive Director position that would be available with the opening of the new Enhanced Adoption Center (EAC) inside the Midland PetSmart in November 2011. I later applied/interviewed for the position and was hired as the first Executive Director for the EAC.
For the next nine (9) years I worked as the Executive Director to hire/develop staff and volunteers, and to develop key relationships with multiple partners to meet our goals/objectives of becoming a "No Kill Community''. I provided leadership for the day- to- day operations of the EAC which are multi-faceted and complex, and always made certain that the animals in our care were first, and healthy and safe, and were only placed in loving, caring homes that would ensure their success for a forever happy life.
I was blessed to have full support of the MHC Board, and was surrounded by an outstanding team of volunteers and staff, who were professionals from various disciplines, that gave valuable support to me in setting up a strong organizational structure. As a team, we provided for the efficient, compassionate care of the precious animals, and were successful in meeting our goals/objectives.
I retired from as Executive Director of the EAC in April 2020. For the past two (2) years I have remained part-time at the EAC as an Advisor/ Administrative Support as we made the transition to a new Director. I have also provided support to the EAC as the MHC expanded their vision and commenced operations at the new Joe and Van Mabee Animal Rescue Center. I retired from this position on March 28, 2022.
Tell us what MHC was like then and now. How has it changed over the years?
We were the second Enhanced Adoption Center to open inside a Petsmart Store in the State of Texas. In the early days of operation, I remember opening and closing the operation with only a few volunteers to help, working 10-12 hour shifts, 7 days a week for months, with only 1 day off each week, until adequate staff and volunteers were in place. With limited staff and volunteers, and the assistance and support of Laura Hollifield with Animal Outreach, we cared for 15-20 dogs and 10 or more cats each day at the Center. Most of my days off were spent shopping for supplies, or on the phone working through critical questions regarding animal illness, or animal surrender/placement/adoption. Spare time was spent developing policies, procedures, budgets, personnel guidelines, social media, safety/emergency programs, and performing many other administrative functions. It was a daunting task, but the animals that found their forever homes during these early days made it so worth the effort and sacrifices made.
Since that time, we have been able to add adequate staff to support operations at the EAC. The MHC has been able to further expand their vision with the acquisition of a new rescue facility in Midland -the Joe and Van Mabee Animal Rescue Center. I first proposed the need for expansion of our operations at the EAC in 2014, that would accommodate added space for the quarantine, medical care/rehabilitation, and rotation of the animals. Seeing this come into fruition with the opening of the Joe and Van Mabee Animal Rescue Center in November, 2021, has been the fulfillment of this dream. This facility will provide space to prepare many more rescues for adoption.
The pandemic certainly provided many challenges to operations. Fewer people were making visits to the Adoption Center, and adoptions were negatively impacted. This has improved with the decline of COVID cases and restrictions.
What would you say were your greatest accomplishments during your time with MHC?
The adoption process that I created that always put the animals first, and ensured that the animals were "the perfect match" for the adopters, was one of my greatest accomplishments. This made certain that the animals would live out their lives in a safe and loving home, and yielded very few failed adoptions, and many success stories, of which I am very proud.
We reached out to many rescue groups in the Permian Basin, and became the central hub of information and support to the rescue community. This support included providing food/feeding supplies, donations, advertising, referrals, and much more. This effort increased adoptions, and helped us to make great strides towards meeting our goals. We spearheaded the efforts to bring the rescue community groups together to accomplish common goals - a true win-win for all. I will forever cherish the many lasting friendships I made within the community, especially the rescue community, over the past eleven (11) years.
I developed a Volunteer Program, with policies and procedures, a Senior-to-Senior Program that has been very successful, and our staff planned many internal special events that helped raise funds for the organization.
The Adoption Center Staff /Volunteers and Adoption Center animals participated in all MHC sponsored events in the community. The EAC Staff/Volunteers participated in shot clinics that were offered at low cost at various locations in the community.
The EAC completed over 8,000 adoptions of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats into their loving, forever homes. Working with Midland Animal Services, and many rescue groups, the number of dogs and cats euthanized annually in Midland Animal Services was significantly reduced. We made great advances towards meeting our goal of making Midland a "No-Kill Community". Thousands of paw prints are forever etched in my heart of those precious animals that we saved.
We took in hundreds of owner releases from the Midland animal shelter, and redirected hundreds of animals from being surrendered to the Midland Animal shelter. This required many hours of counseling with pet owners to fully educate them as to alternatives to surrendering their pets. We also helped owners find lost pets by checking for chips, and posting information regarding the lost animals(s) on facebook networks. This proved to be highly successful.
Because of our unique location inside the Petsmart Store, our Staff spent hundreds of hours each year in educating the public coming through the Enhanced Adoption Center regarding proper animal care, i.e. best food choices, disease prevention, grooming, medical references, behavior modification training/techniques/references for problem behavior, the importance of vaccinations, and spay/neutering of pets, etc. We also worked closely with Trainers that helped owners with their pet(s) behavioral issues, and who helped many of our animals become more adoptable.
What would you say were the most challenging aspects of your job?
Dealing with the many medical issues that occurred with our animals at the Adoption Center, particularly during the first year of operation. This was very difficult to manage, and always took an emotional toll on the Staff and Volunteers.
What was your favorite/most rewarding part of your job?
Being able to see the transformation of the scared, insecure, abandoned/throw away dogs and cats that came into our care, become calm, confident, sweet and loveable. Watching the happiness they expressed when they found their forever homes was the most rewarding part of my job. I always lead from my heart. It was always about the animals.
Any epic pet rescue stories that stood out through the years?
All of our adoptions have been epic.
Are there any pets whose names and faces you will never forget?
Lana - a 1 year old female pit bull, was hopeless and depressed after being dumped at the Midland Animal Shelter. She was scheduled for euthanasia when EAC Staff stepped in and saved her life. She came to the Adoption Center and flourished. Her personality caught the eye of Ricky Bedient , one of our great Trainers, and now Lana is a support dog for a Veteran with PTSD. Lana literally saved the Veteran's life! Many of our animals have been trained to become service dogs and provide emotional support for Veterans with PTSD.
What are your plans now that you are fully retired?
I plan to spend more time with my family and beloved pets. I will continue to be involved as an advocate for the many dogs and cats in our community that have no voice.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy working out, and taking long walks with my dog, Bentley. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends, and will now be able to travel some since I have more time. I enjoy the football season, and watching the Dallas Cowboys.
Tell us about your fur babies...
FINAL WORDS FROM STEG:
It has been an honor to serve as Director of the EAC for over 9 years, and as an Advisor over the past 2 years. Rescue is hard. It must be your passion - and, your passion is your purpose. I thank God and MHC for giving me the opportunity to pursue my passion of working to change the path of many precious animals in our community from that of inevitable euthanasia to a path of adoption into loving, forever homes. Together we have made a difference! I will be forever grateful!
Hello! Welcome to our blog, pet lovers! We hope to share some helpful information regarding pet care, health and wellness here. Stay tuned for updates!
Enhanced Adoption Center
4206 West Loop 250 N
Midland, TX 79707
PO BOX 53213
Midland, TX 79710
HOURS: M - S: 12pm - 6pm
SUN: 12pm - 5pm
Adoption Center: 432-557-3405