A Pet For Life, Inc. (APFL), is the realization of a dream that started almost 20 years ago when Ms. Pat Long adopted her first four-legged friend. At that point in time, having a dog was no big deal. You bought or built a doghouse and put the dog in it, providing the animal with food and water. On nice days, you might stop by for a visit.
It didn’t take very much exposure for Pat to realize there was much more to this “pet owner” thing. She found herself wanting to take the dogs for walks. When the weather became inclement, she found it comforting to bring the dog inside. Then she began teaching the animal to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Subsequently, she read about veterinary care and necessary immunizations to protect her pet. Pat found the special bond with her dog to be so rewarding, it led her to wonder what she could do for other pets.
Pat’s eagerness and compassion led her to the Humane Society of Wicomico County in 1990. Volunteering with the Humane Society was an eye-opening experience. Dogs and cats had been indiscriminately inbred so their temperament was unstable for future home environments. Pets had been medically neglected: some were covered in fleas; some had chains embedded in their necks; some were heart-worm positive because they had not received preventatives. Then there were the frightened animals – the cats who had been left at the front door with runny eyes and diarrhea – the dogs who cowered with their tails between their legs because they had been “dumped”. In many cases these animals were the lucky ones because they somehow found their way to the Shelter. Others weren’t so lucky. Pat’s experience with the frightened and injured animals at the Humane Society had her wondering what she could do to help these discarded pets.
The exposure to animal’s special needs at the Humane Society led her to become an advocate for dogs and cats. She began taking “problem kids” home with her for one-on-one rehabilitation. Pat studied the medical and dietary issues for dogs and cats, gaining the knowledge to encourage pet owners to be more attentive to the physical and mental health of their animal. This allowed even more positive aspects to pet companionship to be enjoyed by both the pet and the owner.
Pat volunteered with the Humane Society for nine years. The things she experienced at the Shelter gave her a dream – to one day have her very own facility where she could rescue, rehabilitate, and find loving homes for surrendered or stray dogs and cats. Her longstanding association with the Humane Society provided the experience she needed with a wide range of breeds of dogs and cats, behavior and obedience issues, veterinary care issues, and bonding between pets and adopters.
To further the pursuit of her ambitions to rescue animals, Pat needed a place and she needed funding.
In 1999, she found a way to make it happen. Her garage became her “shelter” and the funding came from her, as she began rescuing animals of her own.
Over the years, Pat has spent countless hours and dollars working toward her goal. In June 2004, her dream was realized with the establishment of A Pet For Life, Inc., a tax-exempt non-profit corporation dedicated to animal welfare.
APFL’s main mission is rescuing inured animals, those whom other organizations may be unwilling or unable to do so. Pat is the President of APFL, remaining the major source of revenue and the primary caregiver for all aspects of her rescued or surrendered animals. This includes providing care, both personal and veterinarian, for the animals, as well as maintaining a sanctuary for them until they can be adopted.
APFL can accommodate up to 12 dogs and 25 cats, but will try to make additional accommodations when a special situation arises. After Hurricane Katrina, Pat opened her heart (and her wallet) to take in Jed and Jeremy, two dogs abandoned by the storm. Both of these dogs were adopted by loving families.
Pat maintains a close working relationship with numerous veterinarian practices on the Eastern Shore, and maintains ties with numerous rescue operations. Pat’s efforts have been reported in the Daily Times Newspaper, on the local television stations, WBOC/Channel 16 and WMDT/Channel 47, of Salisbury, Maryland.
As President of APFL, Pat stays current with animal rescue issues and practices, seeking to maintain the highest standards of care for all animals entrusted to the care of APFL. She personally cares for each and every animal at APFL’s shelter. Assisting Pat are volunteers who act primarily as dog-walkers and as caregivers in Pat’s absence.
Born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Pat has lifelong roots in the area. She was born in Wicomico County, is a graduate of Wicomico High School, and attended Salisbury University with interests in psychology and philosophy.
Pat is deeply appreciative of her adopters, whom she closely screens for appropriateness and compassion. She is also deeply indebted to her “kids”, each of whom has given her a richer understanding of what being a companion to a pet involves.
Pat welcomes your questions and comments. If you are interested in opening your heart and your home for one of our precious animals, A Pet For Life, Inc., can be reached at 410-677-0776 or email us at apet4life@comcas