Sarah Davis: Saving Neglected Dogs and Cats
Almost nothing stops Sarah Davis, 16, from helping animals. Too young to drive on her own, she relies on her grandma, Joan, to get her to the dogs and cats in need of care.
“I love animals,” says the Newark resident. “What I do gives them a voice and at the same time I’m helping out the community.”
Since age 14, the Dickinson High School student has volunteered at Faithful Friends Animal Society (FFAS) in Wilmington. She is one of 400 volunteers who help the privately funded, non-profit advocacy organization with a variety of animal and community services aimed at ending the abandonment, abuse and neglect of dogs and cats in Delaware.
Its services include free pet food (for pet owners with financial difficulties), pet therapy, adoption, and low-cost spay/neuter and health clinics for worm and tick treatments and vaccinations. Its No-Kill policy ensures that all treatable and trainable animals not adopted remain in the care of the staff and volunteers.
Pet homelessness and overpopulation can be a challenge to communities and overcrowded animal shelters. Last year, the organization provided shelter care to more than 1,700 homeless pets, says Jane Pierantozzi, founder and director of Faithful Friends, headquartered on Germay Drive. At year’s end, approximately 1,400 were adopted. The rest remained in shelter or foster care.
In 2017 Delaware shelters took in 12,923 animals and 13,241 in 2018, according to the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.
Davis, who owns three dogs, one cat, and a guinea pig, has fostered 15 kittens. “I bring them home if there’s not enough space at the shelter,” she says.
To deter overpopulation, Davis has trapped more than 60 feral cats to have them neutered and vaccinated through the Trap-Neuter-Return program. She then returns them to their outdoors homes, called colonies. She’s currently responsible for two colonies, which she visits during the weekends and after school to make sure the cats are safe and have plenty of food and water. In 2018, Faithful Friends spayed and neutered more than 2,000 dogs and cats.
“Sarah is one of those volunteers who keep their ears and eyes open for animals to rescue,” says Nicole Cunningham, dog adoption coordinator at Faithful Friends.
Davis, recipient of a 2017 Governor’s Youth Service Award for her volunteer work, has saved the lives of dozens of animals in the past two years. This winter, she and her grandmother, a former FFAS volunteer, rescued a year-old pit bull from starvation and frostbite. Day after day the dog had hung around an apartment complex, barking, eating bits of cat food left for feral cats, and hiding in the woods. On a bitterly cold day, Davis trudged into the snow-covered woods with her grandmother and lured the pit bull into a cage with a trail of warm hot dog bits and chicken tenders.
When not rescuing animals, Davis delivers food to pet owners who don’t have money for pet food or transportation. Last year, more than 4,000 people received free pet food from Faithful Friends, thus making it possible for the animals to remain with their owners.
Not surprisingly, Davis plans to be a veterinarian and eventually open an animal shelter.
Faithful Friends partners include Concord Pet Foods & Supplies, the Brandywine Valley SPCA and the Delaware Humane Society. Last year the agency, which relies on fundraisers, grants, and donations, spent $2.6 million in services and programs.
To volunteer, donate or to learn about upcoming events, visit faithfulfriends.us or call 427-8514.