South Mississippi Strong: Shelter volunteer fostered over 200 animals

Jeanene Martin has fostered hundreds of animals at the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

South Mississippi Strong: Shelter volunteer fostered over 200 animals

JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A Jackson County woman is making a positive impact on animals one furry friend at a time. Jeanene Martin has fostered hundreds of animals at the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

Hundreds more come in every single week. Three and a half years ago, Jeanene walked into the shelter and offered to volunteer.

Jeanene Martin, left, and adoption coordinator Maridee Mallette, right, work together to help find homes for as many animals as possible.
Jeanene Martin, left, and adoption coordinator Maridee Mallette, right, work together to help find homes for as many animals as possible.

“This is where I was needed,” Jeanene said. “This is where I felt the calling. I came in and met (adoption coordinator) Maridee (Mallette) and I just wanted to stay here. I wanted to help here as much as I could.”

That means fostering, taking animals home with her and helping find them homes.

“You get an animal out of here. Maybe it’s sick, maybe it needs a little bit of help with house training and stuff like that," she said. "You work on those things. You get it better, and you find it a home.”

Over the years, Jeanene has helped 204 animals.

“Dog and cats," she recalled. “Everywhere from bottle babies to... I had one that was nine.”

She keeps them on average from four to 12 weeks.

From handing out treats to taking pups for walks and cuddling kittens, Jeanene spends her time loving and caring for the pets at Jackson County Animal Shelter.
From handing out treats to taking pups for walks and cuddling kittens, Jeanene spends her time loving and caring for the pets at Jackson County Animal Shelter. (Source: WLOX)

“I love the animals. I do it for the animals, to be a part of helping them find a new home," she added.

Right now, Jeanene is caring for seven animals on top of the ones who live with her permanently. As you can guess, it’s hard letting some of them go.

“I have foster failed," she explained. “That means you couldn’t let them go. You kept them. That’s the one thing it’s okay to fail at.”

“Oh my goodness! She’s made such a difference for this place,” said Maridee Mallette. “I don’t know what I’d do without her. I mean, she’s taken home so many animals: old, young, sick. She’s just one of a kind.”

Maridee said the shelter takes in strays and owner surrenders.

“Summertime is usually the worst. We’ve had almost 100 animals come in in two and a half days this week," Maridee said.

Right now, the Jackson County Animal Shelter is again at full capacity and are desperately in need of volunteers, supplies, and most importantly, forever homes for the animals there.
Right now, the Jackson County Animal Shelter is again at full capacity and are desperately in need of volunteers, supplies, and most importantly, forever homes for the animals there. (Source: WLOX)

Right now, the shelter is at full capacity with 300 animals looking for forever homes. Jeanene is hoping to make a dent in that number.

“Very fulfilling, and it’s harder to let them go. But there’s another one that’s waiting on you to make space for that one,” Jeanene said.

She’s also heading the effort to create a non-profit volunteer program within the shelter. It’s just one more way Jeanene can help out.

“She is just a happy person and loves the animals so much and understands what happens here, that it’s not always happy at the shelter, and she understands how to handle that,” Maridee added.

Volunteers are always needed at the Jackson County Animal Shelter. If you can’t spare time, staff say they also need donations like food and litter, even bleach. You can also make monetary donations.

Click here to visit the shelter’s Facebook page.

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