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Local Hero – Driven by Passion

November 3, 2011 by Tails Magazine in November 2011, Phoenix with 0 Comments

Local retiree dedicates his time and love to benefit homeless animalsBill Jacobs

When Bill Jacobs retired from his electrical engineering career several years ago, he knew he wanted to spend his free days making a difference in the lives of homeless animals—and that’s exactly what he has done. Jacobs turned his passion into a mission by volunteering medical assistance and dedicating his time to animals hoping to find their “forever homes.”

“It’s a terrific thing, because you are taking an animal who does not have a home and giving him some love while he is waiting to be adopted,” says Jacobs. “I can’t think of anything more rewarding than to help an animal who doesn’t have a warm home to cuddle up in at night.”

It was during his initial years of volunteer work as an adoption counselor at a local shelter that Jacobs first became interested in the medical side of caring for shelter animals. Nearly four years ago, he began training as an animal health technician for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) in Phoenix. Today Jacobs assists veterinarians in the clinic during spay/neuter surgeries and monitors the animal’s vitals while in recovery. Jacobs says he finds his volunteer work at MCACC very rewarding because these animals have been given a second chance.

“These are animals that are getting ready to go home,” says Jacobs. “You get that nice, warm, fuzzy feeling knowing they will soon be joining their new families.”

It was his volunteer work that brought Jacobs nose-to-nose with Dolly, a mixed breed who was brought to the shelter with a back injury, possibly from being hit by a car. “Dolly was a foster failure,” says Jacobs jokingly. “I brought her home after her surgery as a foster care pet, and I never brought her back.” Dolly has recovered from her injuries and is now best buds with Katy the Sheltie, Jacobs other rescued dog. “Together Dolly and Katy rule the household and enjoy romping in their big backyard,” he reports.

When Jacobs isn’t providing medical assistance to the animals at the MCACC, he also volunteers at Sun Valley Animal Shelter (SVAS), in Glendale. Jacobs likes that SVAS is a small non-profit shelter in his community, with staff that is extremely caring and compassionate. At SVAS Jacobs heads up volunteer training. He has been able to use his experience to implement new safety programs including a bite prevention course, interpreting an animal’s posture, and recognizing the signs of an aggressive dog.

When Jacobs discovers a dog who is extremely stressed by the shelter’s environment, his goal is to get them into a foster home so they can relax. “The dogs’ need someone to take them out, walk them, and just sit with them, petting them and reassuring them that life will get better,” he says.

Because Jacobs sees first-hand the tragic results of overcrowding at animal shelters he emphasizes the importance of spaying and neutering, and properly tagging and microchipping family pets in case they get lost.

As for the future, Jacobs plans to continue his volunteer work and dedicate his time and experience to finding new ways to help homeless animals find their forever homes.

For more information please visit: Maricopa.gov/pets and SunValleyPets.org

By Rosalie Capri

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