Susan Scherl, Executive Director of HOPE Animal Shelter says, “Sometimes things you yearn for don’t seem possible. As a child, I wanted a pet with all my heart but it was not allowed.”
As the story goes, at 12 years old Susan found a barn kitten at a riding stable and snuck it home under her sweater. At first her mother refused to let her in the apartment with the dark haired fur ball, but finally relented. She said, “We will let your dad decide when he gets home. But you will have to keep it in the bathroom until then.” Susan spent the rest of the day on the floor with the kitten, sleeping in her lap. That evening her father said, “I’m sorry sweetie, we just can’t have pets in this apartment, you are going to have to take it back.”
Fast forward, as an adult, Susan finally adopted her first pet, a cat named Troodi. For thirty years she pursued a career in advertising in New York. She loved her work, but there was still a dream sleeping in her heart. It was on a trip to Africa where that dream sprang to life. She saw animals living their lives in the wild, and at the same time she observed the extreme poverty of so many African people. She came away from that trip knowing that she wanted to do something different with her life, something that had more meaning.
Guided by inspiration she found in a Sanskrit word, “Ahimsa,” which literally means “non-violence”. She dreamed of founding a no-kill animal shelter. That led her to the people at Best Friend’s Animal Shelter in Utah to whom she went for advice.
It takes time for dreams to come true. In 1996, Susan’s journey led her to Santa Fe, NM. She started a TV production company, and spent her spare time working at an animal shelter doing what she could for abandoned cats and dogs. In 2000 she moved to Tucson, AZ. She worked in a veterinary office. She volunteered at the Humane Society, where she eventually became the Shelter Manager.
In 2005, working closely with a veterinary office and other supporters, her dream finally came true. She founded and today directs a non-profit organization known as HOPE Animal Shelter…Tucson’s only no-kill animal shelter for cats and dogs. The dream is under way but as Susan will tell you, there is much more to do. For example, she is now dreaming of a larger facility and more property on which to care for the animals.
Perhaps you want to know more about Susan’s shelter. You may wonder how you can help. Please know that we at Ajo Veterinary Clinic support and have much respect for this organization.