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Meet Shannon Steemke of Cooper’s Chance Animal Rescue in East Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shannon Steemke.

Shannon, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Cooper was my beloved dog, rescued from Maricopa County Animal Control in Mesa, Arizona in October 1998. She was sick with kennel cough, underweight and obvious signs of abuse, the county shelter had no room for a dog so unlikely to be adopted. Scheduled for euthanasia, she deserved a chance, she deserved a home. I thought I could give her that home; a safe place to heal from the abuse and neglect. From the beginning she showed behavioral issues; fear biting, dog aggression and separation anxiety. She was given the best care, affection, treats and toys, but her spirit was never repaired. No amount of love can take away years of abuse. Several years later, unprovoked, she attacked me, biting off the top portion of my left ear. A senseless tragedy that could have been prevented with proper rehabilitation. Instead of giving up on Cooper, I was motivated to seek help and try to rehabilitate her. This was a defining moment in my life, and from this tragic experience, grew my desire to help others. Eventually the enthusiasm blossomed into a nonprofit rescue organization, designed to focus on the rehabilitation of the animal, and educating the pet parent. Every member of our organization is dedicated to giving our rescued pets the chance they deserve; Cooper’s chance.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Animal welfare is very rewarding, but is full of challenges along the way to success, from lack of money to not enough volunteers. We are an all-volunteer rescue, receive no government funding and rely on donations and grants to fund community programs.

Please tell us about Cooper’s Chance Animal Rescue.
We are a green focused, 501c3 nonprofit, no kill animal rescue established in 2006. Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home abused and neglected animals. We are dedicated to the welfare of these animals and the gentle eco system that we share. We also educate the public on humane and responsible pet ownership through nonprofit partnerships, public education programs and grass root efforts within communities. Since our start, we have saved and re homed over 500 abused and neglected dogs, and we are very proud of that!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have started with more active volunteers and better shelter management software. I underestimated the number volunteers needed to start, and didn’t have a reliable way to maintain the intake numbers, thus resulting in incomplete information and mixed up records.

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