Few are so committed to a cause that they dedicate their lives to it. Sandy Wyatt is one of those rare individuals. Sandy began volunteering for the Southside SPCA over 25 years ago while she was still employed by the RF&P Railroad, and took over as Director and a full-time volunteer when she retired in 2000. Times were difficult in those early years. Money and volunteers were scarce, but Sandy never wavered in her devotion to the homeless, neglected and abused animals of Southside Virginia. Working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days each year, she kept the Southside SPCA going even when it appeared at times that it would not survive.
Times are better today. We have a new shelter (completed in 2007) and more volunteers and money, but Sandy continues her 24/7/365 schedule. Each day usually begins at 5 AM when Sandy arrives at the shelter to greet and check on the animals, dispense medications, respond to e-mails, and often, care for dogs, cats, kittens and puppies left in cages or tied to the shelter gate during the night. The rest of the mornings and early afternoons are spent rescuing animals from the county pounds and roadside dumpsters, responding to calls for help, transporting animals to and from the veterinarians, and dealing with shelter operation and maintenance issues, and picking up supplies. Late afternoons are devoted to recording, depositing, and writing checks and corresponding with supporters. Every other Sundays are particularly long days, requiring Sandy to return to the shelter in the evening to prepare as many as 35 homeless puppies for overnight transport to New England for adoption in connection with our Homebound Hounds program.
On more than one occasion, the Southside SPCA Board has suggested to Sandy that she accept some compensation for her tireless efforts, or at least take a day off from time to time – but she has steadfastly refused, even continuing to make donations of money to the Southside SPCA each year.
We hope you are as inspired as we are by Sandy’s selfless devotion to the welfare of the homeless animals of Southside Virginia and all that she has accomplished on their behalf. “Hero” is an over-used term these days, but there can be no question that it correctly describes Sandy Wyatt.