Janice Owens: Patron Saint of the Brunswick County Animal Shelter
Janice Owens didn’t mean to become the patron saint of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Animal Protective Services (BCSAPS) and Shelter. It just kind of happened.
Owens moved to Shallotte from Ohio with her husband, Dick, in 1990. Shortly thereafter Owens decided to organize a charity golf tournament with a fellow golf-enthusiast. It was a one-time affair and the nonprofit to benefit from their work was the animal shelter that served her home town.
And so after the golf tournament was successfully completed, Owens collected the donations and delivered them to the shelter. At that point, she was hooked.
“I said to my husband, ‘You know what? Let’s do this every month,'” Owens shared. “And he was so easy-going, so he just said, ‘Ok.'”
Decades later, Owens is still at it. Owens doesn’t collect donations or run golf tournaments anymore, though. Instead, she listens to what the volunteers and employees at BCSAPS say they need and she buys it. This means she shows up once a month with food, toys, storage units, combs, hammocks, cleaning supplies, sheds, or whatever else is needed, all bought from her own pocket and own heart.
Originally, Owens wanted to be an anonymous donor, but the staff figured it out quickly. Today, Owens has a wonderful relationship with the staff at BCSAPS and has only good things to say about their work.
In turn, BCSAPS couldn’t do it without her.
“Mrs. Owens is an angel,” Cindy Stanley, Office Manager for the BCSAPS said. “I can call her with any special needs requests for the animal shelter and she will jump right on it. She is truly a wonderful friend to the shelter. She is simply the best!”
You would think that, given Owens’ work to save the animals, her home is full of fur and four-legged friends. But Owens knows her limits. While she has a wall full of pictures honoring the dogs and cats in her life, she realizes that she can’t save them all and has to maintain some distance.
“I can’t go in the back to see the kittens and the dogs,” Owens admitted. “I just don’t have the stomach for it.”
But she keeps giving and saving them in other ways.
“I say, ‘I can’t bring you all home and I can’t play with you all, but I can feed you,'” Owens said.
One of the dogs on her “Wall of Fame” is a cute mutt who looks like he stepped straight off the screen of Lady & the Tramp. He was very sick when he arrived at the shelter and Owens paid the entire bill for his medical treatment. He was happily adopted by a family who loves him today.
Today Owens, whose husband passed away three years ago, shares her home in Shallotte with one cat – or perhaps he shares his home with her. But the neighborhood pets come frequently for treats and love. They know a good heart when they see one. And Owens continues to love them.
“I just enjoy it,” Owens said. “It makes me feel good inside.”