Maleah Stringer

THB Photo/John P. Cleary 7/29/03 LFS Studio shots of Maleah Stringer for column.

I started doing animal rescue in 2003; this is when I founded the Animal Protection League. I had no idea what I was getting into. I’d read as much of the national animal welfare organizations’ information as I could get my hands on. I thought entering into the “real” world of animal rescue would be like joining one big happy, dedicated family whose soul mission was to help animals and everyone helped everyone else to help the animals. I heard the phrase “it’s all about the animals” about a 100,000 times. Uh huh.

Unfortunately it isn’t always all about the animals, or the children or the environment or whatever the cause — though the cause may be admirable unfortunately, oftentimes we humans manage to bring egos, pettiness, jealousy and a load of other not so nice traits to the table as well while trying to achieve our lofty goals. Dr. Claudia Smith is an exception — for her it really is all about the animals. She is a pure soul.

I met Dr. Claudia at the Anderson City Shelter in January, 2008 when six of us vaccinated all the animals in the shelter. I immediately liked her and was almost giddy that someone with her expertise was willing to donate time at the City Shelter.

Since Jan. 10, 2008, when she came in to rescue a dog, Dr. Claudia has been at the shelter every day to care for the animals. Dr. Claudia and her husband who is also a veterinarian have used their own money for supplies at the shelter. When Larry Russell resigned as director of the City Shelter, Claudia was asked if she wanted the job — she did not. But she was willing to be the interim director for two weeks while a search was conducted for a new qualified director. She was not paid; she was a volunteer. Then on April 9 when a replacement still had not been found Claudia once again stepped up to the plate and agreed to continue until April 30. She did this because of the animals. She doesn’t care about the limelight; she just wants to bring compassion and humane treatment to the animals who end up in the shelter.

Maleah Stringer, president of the Animal Protection League, is an animal massage therapist specializing in esoteric healing. She can be reached at maleahstringer@aol.com.

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