A Closer Look at St. Francis Animal Rescue

St. Francis has been in operation since 2002 taking animals off the streets and into loving homes. From the humble beginnings as a small operation in the backyard of the now St. Francis president Diane Daugherty home, it has expanded to now having its own full facility, housing 150+ animals with 18 paid employees and many volunteers, the progress that has been made by St. Francis and Diane is truly unbelievable. As Diane put’s it, “I have gotten the pleasure of watching it grow and become way beyond my wildest dreams.” 

Picture taken by Ethan Feloni. The big dogs in the outdoor enclosure excitedly greeting the photographer.

I got the pleasure of getting a tour of the facility, and what they are doing is truly amazing, and you can tell that everyone there truly loves to be there and loves to help these animals. I got to talk to two of the workers in particular, one being a Receptionist and Animal Caretaker named Jason Kane, and the other being a Vet Tech named Katie Brandenburg, and the conversations with them were truly lovely and really helped express how amazing St. Francis really is.

After asking Katie, who has been working with St. Francis for 7 months, if she enjoyed working at St. Francis, she had this to say. “I do like working at St. Francis. I have always really liked animals. During COVID I did a lot of fostering a lot of mother cats and kittens before I was here, so I like the aspects here of helping them grow emotionally and physically.” 

Then I talked with Jason, who has been an employee for a little over a year. I asked him the same question, and his response was quite similar. “It is a lot of fun. It can be a little bit stressful, you obviously see some sad stuff sometimes, but overall it is a really rewarding experience. You can get really attached to some of these dogs and it can be hard to see them go, but at the end of the day we all know that that’s what is best for them.” I then asked him what his personal reason for working at St. Francis was, and his answer helps paint a picture of the St. Francis experience quite well. “I really enjoy working with animals. I love dogs so getting to see them go off to their forever homes feels like a real life Disney experience.”

Photo taken by Ethan Feloni. The front reception desk of St. Francis being run by Jason Kane (Left) and Shelley Imhalf (Middle).

After I asked all three of them if there was anything that they would like to tell possible volunteer’s or adopters, and they all gave pretty much the same answers. For volunteer’s they want you to know that they really need you, and that if you come you will fall in love with it. As Jason put’s it, “it’s not going to be necessarily the most glamorous work, but there really isn’t a more noble cause than finding these homeless animals a forever home.”

And for adopters, they want you to know that adopting an animal is a lifelong commitment and an expense, but it is absolutely worth it without a doubt, and that these animal’s know that you rescued them, and their love for you will be undying. 

And finally, as I was about to leave the building, Shelley Imholf, the other lovely receptionist, asked me to include a quote that they have framed in St. Francis in the article, because many adopters don’t truly understand it coming in.

“Adopted dogs take 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to start to know your routine, and 3 months to start to feel at home.”

If you do adopt and the animal doesn’t immediately acclimate, that is natural. Animals need time to acclimate, and as long as you give them that time, they will be your undying best friend. As an owner of St. Francis rescues, I can do nothing but agree.