Your Neighbor: Meet Kristin Marion

Published 12:05 am Thursday, May 30, 2024

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By Mandy Haggerson

For the Clemmons Courier

For many kids and adults that are getting ready to officially welcome summer, that means more vacation time and extra fun in the sun. For Ward Elementary’s kindergarten teacher, Kristin Marion it means that she will have the opportunity to spend more of her free time giving at the local Forsyth County Animal Shelter (FCAS) on Sturmer Park Circle. 

Marion began volunteering in 2010. 

“During the school year, I’m able to be at the shelter when I’m not in my classroom, which is primarily on the weekends,” Marion said. “During the summer months, I have a lot more flexibility in my schedule. I’ve seen at the shelter, and with rescues throughout the state, a decline in adoptions, which is devastating. It’s no fault of the animals; it just seems that with the warmer months, families are going on vacations and aren’t looking to add a furry companion to their home.

“When I go into the shelter and see these diamonds in the rough, I want to help showcase what makes them highly adoptable. I love writing and telling their story. I spend time with them whenever I go in and try to best assess what they need that day. Some dogs like to play and go for a walk. Some are still so scared and traumatized that they just want you to sit with them. Many of them are potty trained and won’t go to the bathroom unless you walk them. I learn about them, highlight their personalities, take their photos and share it on social media. It is such a critical piece for others to share those posts. It doesn’t cost money or take much time, but it allows these animals to get greater exposure and possibly a new family and home.” 

FCAS has recognized that Marion’s thoughtful posts are helpful because they share them, too. 

“If I focused on the fact that they have a large number of animals available at all times I probably would get defeated,” Marion said. “I try to spend my energy on the ones that I can help so that I don’t give up. And those animals I do spend time with get my full energy and time when I’m there. I know that for them, the local county shelter is their last stop. I’m a fan of the underdog. If I can play a part in trying to help them find their champion, I’ll spend my time and energy doing so. There is a small but dedicated group of volunteers that are there regularly. I wish so much that there were more people that could come out as a community and support these animals. There are so many ways that they can help, and the reward is much greater than what you give.” 

Marion also empathizes with the shelter staff, who often get criticized on social media since tough decisions have to be made

“I don’t think people realize how much this staff has to deal with emotionally. You can’t magically make new kennels appear when you are full and at capacity. That’s the reality of the situation for these animals that deserve better. It’s not a shelter problem; it’s a community problem. And the only way to fix it is if we come together,” notes Marion. “If everyone could do one small thing, it would help take the load off others.” 

Marion recognizes that everyone’s talents could be utilized and appreciated at the shelter. 

“It’s like a trickle effect. If you help these animals, then it takes the burden off of other rescues, too,” Marion said. “Recently there was a report in the news about 100 animals seized locally. Immediately, anyone in rescue knew that to make space for those animals that would impact the ones currently in rescue or a shelter. Everyone wants to help. But the support in the community is a critical piece that needs to be felt whether it’s through time, monetarily or something as simple as sharing a social media post. It all makes a difference.

“I think it’s safe to say that we are in crisis mode. We need your help. And first and foremost, I always beg my friends, neighbors, colleagues, family and anyone who will listen, if you want to consider adding a furry family member to your house, please come to the shelter. Your heart will be overwhelmed at their resilience and ability to trust, forgive and love again. For some of these animals they have never been shown love. The fact that they are so open to showing what they have never been given is the most amazing thing in the world.”

As someone who currently has two rescues of her own, Marion can attest to the love and joy they bring to her home daily. Most recently, she posted about Aloysia, a 6-month-old puppy who has spent the better part of her young life at the shelter. 

“She’s at that tender age of needing space and exercise while she is spending most of her time kenneled at the shelter,” Marion said. “I got her out the other day and when given the chance to get a little energy out, she was fabulous on our walk. She finds such much joy in the great outdoors and basking in the sun light at your feet. Someone will love having this smart, loyal, people-loving dog as their family member. She just needs a chance.”

After getting snuggles from Aloysia, Marion enjoyed her time with Bertha. 

“She stole my heart with lots of kisses and a beautiful smile,” Marion said. “She is deceiving with her big muscles because she’s just one big softie that loves to be with humans and will lean into you for that attention. She appears to be housebroken and keeps a meticulous kennel. Her cute little snort makes you smile each and every time you are around her. These two babies are just a few of the amazing animals that are waiting patiently in their kennels right now.”