By Paula Sparrow
Sherri Marcoski is slowly but surely making a difference when it comes to the major problem of pet overpopulation. But her journey to reduce the number of dogs being born in Kentucky came in an unusual way: A serious case of animal rescue burnout.
“I started out in animal rescue in the early ‘90s,” Marcoski says from her home in Crestwood. “I was board chairman of a local rescue, and like all other animal rescuers, I was gung-ho and determined to save the world.”
But as happens with many rescuers, the sense of futility, politics, and never-ending pressure finally got the best of her.
“I had to take some time off and think about how to stay in animal rescue,” she says. “But [I also had to] decide what my real niche should be. It didn’t occur to me to quit; I just needed to find my place.”
She found her niche working in spay/neuter clinics helping to cut down on pet overpopulation.
“Spay/neuter is the best, simplest, easiest way to cut down on pet overpopulation. Can you imagine if everyone altered their pet? It makes me dream of the day when there actually aren’t enough pets to adopt!”
Marcoski now regularly works at spay/neuter clinics for Alley Cat Advocates, Shelby County Humane Society, and Humane Society of Oldham County. She assists during the surgeries, administers fluids, and monitors the animals’ recoveries.
“I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I still get choked up after a spay/neuter clinic,” she
admits. “I think [about] how we’re stemming the tide of animals who would have otherwise ended up in a shelter. I can’t even describe the rewards I get from this work.”
Her niche became two-fold when she began fostering for Bluegrass Shih Tzu Rescue— taking in and caring for Shih Tzus needing a home.
“I foster the train wrecks,” she says with a laugh. “Dogs that are blind, have mange, come from puppy mills, seniors, cancer cases with little time left. Any Shih Tzus with special needs, I do everything I can to give them the life they deserve.
“When a dog becomes well enough, I post them through Bluegrass Shih Tzu Rescue. I write their bios, post pictures. Together we find homes for these dogs, but we are extremely particular about who we adopt to—it’s a vigorous process, because we want these dogs placed in the best possible homes.”
Somehow, between fostering and assisting in surgery, Marcoski still finds the time to head the Pet Groups United organization, work with the United Peafowl Association, and volunteer in hoarder busts, large cruelty cases, and puppy mill busts.
So, what has Marcoski not done that she would like to?
“Oh, that’s an easy one,” she says. “I would like to drive what I call The Karma Truck and go around visiting the dog fighters, the puppy mill operators, the bad breeders, and animal abusers. I’d like to spend two weeks doing that, and they would be the best two weeks of my life.”
But until she finds that Karma Truck, Marcoski is quite happy with the niche she found in animal rescue. A lot of dogs owe their lives to her, as she quietly but forcefully goes about making a difference.