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Taking time to help the animals

The Farmington Pet Adoption Center is the only no-kill shelter in a six-county area.

Located next door to the shelter at 2901 U.S. Highway 67 south of Farmington is the Second Chance Resale Shop. Each sale from the shop goes to help pay the operating expenses for the facility – and the work of volunteers is what makes the shop a reality.

But those currently volunteering with FPAC are looking to share their passion for finding animals ‘forever’ homes with others willing to volunteer whatever time available to help in the mission.

Mickie McClanahan and Wendy King are volunteers with FPAC. McClanahan serves as the volunteer coordinator and King serves as vice-president of the board as well as shelter manager for the no-kill facility.

The need for volunteers is vital to services the facility provides, according to King.

“Without this store, Farmington Pet Adoption Center would not exist,” she said, saying close to 60 percent of the proceeds from the store are used to pay operating expenses for the facility.

“We’re all volunteers, everything is donated … so every single penny of every sale helps the animals.”

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday each week. The need for volunteers is greatest on Tuesday and Saturdays – times when a number of donations are brought to the store.

Most of those donations, King said, come in after the completion of garage and yard sales.

“We are encouraging them to come to us first,” she said. “It’s a tax deduction.”

The store currently has 15 volunteers aiding with the operations. McClanahan said many offer to volunteer with the store but don’t understand the scope of the operation.

“We scrutinize (donations) and only put out the very best,” she said.

To provide the best to the customers and keep the prices among the lowest of resale shops in the area requires a dedicated staff, McClanahan said. “We feel our prices are so good. If someone hasn’t been here, they need to come check us out. We take credit cards, debit cards and checks.”

The two agree the work can be tedious at times. The volunteers carefully look over items donated, checking condition and ensuring the items are the best for the customers.

And, they say it is best to have volunteers responsible for inspecting and pricing a certain type of item to keep a consistency in the store.

Karen Thompson has volunteered for the past six months and is in charge of checking donated linens.

“I check to make sure (the items) aren’t stained or soiled,” she said. “We are trying to get sheets out. When we get a comforter, I check it and measure it.”

Thompson said one of the pieces of information she “Googled” about the area before moving from Lexington, Kentucky was the availability of a pet adoption facility.

“I was here two weeks, didn’t have my boxes unpacked, and said ‘I’m here. How can I help?’” she said.

Thompson said the ability to be flexible with her hours helps her as a volunteer.

Both McClanahan and King stressed they will work with whatever hours a volunteer has to give. They would also be receptive to those who have more time available.

“If we can come up with, perhaps, four more people willing to give us a full six hour day,” McClanahan said. “It’s hot, and it’s dirty … but it’s fun.”

Both agree a love for animals is what motivates many of their helpers.

“I think our people are motivated because they love the animals so much … when you’re done it just tickles you,” McClanahan said. “It is rewarding in that sense.”

McClanahan said volunteers often see the reward after the first day on the job.

“At the end of the day, when they have done this, they say ‘Holy cow! I can do this…this is cool. I like the people that are there,'” she said. “We are very accommodating. Everybody works together.”

Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. To volunteer contact McClanahan at 573-631-1548.

McClanahan has been a volunteer for two-and-a-half years and moved to the area 20 years ago. She is a retired bookkeeper and office manager – skills she feels helped her settle into her role as volunteer coordinator.

She was a shopper for many years and said her involvement began after giving her contact information to volunteers at the store.

McClanahan said she didn’t initially hear back from the center, but six months later offered again and immediately received a call.

“I came in the next week at one day a week,” she remembers. “And, what happens is, you can’t stop … my husband is so cool. The grass isn’t cut. The house isn’t clean. But, it’s perfect. I love it.”

“We just put our best foot forward to make the customer – whether he’s buying or bringing – feel good,” she said.

King has been involved with animal rescue for seven years and has volunteered with FPAC for the past three-and-a-half years after moving to the area from Illinois. She is retired from the real estate industry.

She worked with animal rescue in Illinois before moving to the area four years ago.

“I started coming here once a week because I was in cat rescue in the Chicago area,” she said, adding she was able to share her expertise from her work with the volunteers at the shelter.

According to King the store is the “best kept secret in town.”

“When people come out who haven’t been here for a while they are amazed,” she said.

When it comes to the animals, the need for volunteers includes vet techs for the cats and volunteer dog walkers for the canine side.

There is also a need for someone to answer phones in the canine area.

“That would be a perfect opportunity for someone with children in school,” McClanahan said. “We start answering phones at 10 a.m. and they could work until 2:30 or 3 p.m.”

Volunteers could also be used for the pet adoption events held on Saturdays at PetCo in the Maple Valley shopping center.

“Anything somebody can give us is something we didn’t have,” McClanahan said.

“We’re all volunteers, everything is donated….so every single penny of every sale helps the animals.” Wendy King

Contact volunteer coordinator Mickie McClanahan at 573-631-1548 to volunteer at Farmington Pet Adoption Center.

Karen Thompson carefully checks over linens donated to the Second Chance Resale Shop on June 19. The store, located at 2901 U.S. Highway 67, covers most of the operating expenses for the Farmington Pet Adoption Center. Volunteers are needed to help with the operations of the shop.

Karen Thompson carefully checks over linens donated to the Second Chance Resale Shop on June 19. The store, located at 2901 U.S. Highway 67, covers most of the operating expenses for the Farmington Pet Adoption Center. Volunteers are needed to help with the operations of the shop.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or

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