Julie Seal is making friends of all animal lovers quickly as Healdsburg's new Animal Shelter director.
Seal is already helping to raise funds toward the being built this fall and getting animals into the community instead of having people always having to go to them.
Yesterday, she appeared at Spoonbar, along with German shepherd Selby, to thank them for their $1,500 donation.
"I want to thank and for being so generous to the shelter," said Seal. "And we hope to partner with other businesses in town in much the same way."
president of the shelter board, had high praises for Seal.
"Today, the Healdsburg Animal Shelter, with the challenges of the economy and the building of the new shelter is at its most pivotal point since its inception in 1960," she said.
"I cannot think of anyone more competent and skilled than Julie Seal to guide us through these challenging and exciting times!"
Seal said she has some budget concerns about the shelter.
"I want to create a public awareness campaign about how much of a shoestring budget we operate on, " she said as she held up an ancient telephone in her office.
"I have been with the shelter just over two weeks and have never seen such a dedicated, small staff doing such incredible work for the animals with such a lean budget," said Seal. "What happens here every day is truly impressive."
Seal takes over in the wake of a series of previous directors --some of whom only stayed a short time. She said she is used to tackling challenging tasks and has been successful at it.
While she lived in Phoenix, she started Rescue, the first animal rights group of its kind in the area. They saved animals on the euthanasia list at the county.
Ten years later, there were many other groups like Rescue and the numbers of animals being euthanized dropped by one third.
"I have a deep love of animals that goes back to my childhood," said Seal. "It seems you always want what you can't have and when I was a child growing up in Wauwatosa, Wisc., I had serious allergies and could not have a dog or a cat."
Seal then paused, and reached over to pull out her tattered, oversized picture book called "Dogs of the World."
"I've had this since I was a kid and can still name every breed of dog," she said proudly.
As she talked, Seal petted Marmelade, a cat residing in her office which had been thrown out of a car last week.
The shelter has a bare bones staff of six and Seal said she is determined to fix that. She said she had just hired a full-time vet technician to start Wednesday.
"I've already been out talking to wineries and previous donors and can't wait for some of our upcoming events like the Adopt-A-Thon taking place at the Olive Leaf parking lot on Feb. 12," said Seal. "They were so great to give us their parking lot for a day.
Seal went onto talk about how some people don't like coming to animal shelters and how important it is to get the dogs to them like at events like this one.
"The public can take the dogs on a walk, pet the cats and talk with an adoption counselor to see how an animal will best fit into their family."
Recently, Seal spoke with Alderbrook Winery and was so grateful that they sponsor an animal and put it on their facebook page.
"We house about 700 animals a year and adopt out 600 or more, while the rest are reclaimed by their owners."
During her free time, Seal said she loves to take Sierra Club members on hikes with her fiancee Tim Bartice.
"I love to walk and am an exercise nut," she said as she took one of the shelter dogs out for a walk..
"As we are enlarging the shelter, I want to the Healdsburg Animal Shelter to provide for this the needs of all the animals in this community and to become a role model for every shelter in the country," Seal said.
Feb. 12, Olive Leaf Parking Lot, 206 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Adopt-A-Thon and all animal adoption fees are half off.
TBA - May 7, 2011 - Human Race
TBA - MacMurray Ranch - dinner, silent and live auction - largest fundraiser of the year
If you would like to donate to the Healdsburg Animal Shelter, contact them via their website or call 707-431-3386 x17.