Rescuing the Ultimate Rescuer

Rescuing the Ultimate Rescuer…

This is JoAnn, with just a few of her rescues...

I met JoAnn four years ago. When we had a rabid baby skunk die in our backyard, she came to the rescue! She was so calm, helpful, and professional. Little did I know she would become a part of my family’s life and rescue us many times over the next few years.

But that’s what JoAnn does. She’s a rescuer. It’s in her DNA. Both people and animals.

Lucinda was one of her rescues. (She's the boxer on JoAnn's lap in the photo above and here she is when she was little!) As an Animal Cruelty Investigator for the Humane Society of Chittenden County, JoAnn found Lucinda and her brother in a terrible situation. (Unfortunately, Lucinda’s brother did not survive, but JoAnn was able to save Lucinda.) Lucinda now spreads smiles wherever she goes, especially at the South Burlington Police Department, where Lucinda runs the halls, when JoAnn is working as the Animal Control Officer.  (Here's a heartbreaking case JoAnn recently worked on.) 

Right now JoAnn has 19 animals she has either rescued or is rehabilitating. Going over to her house is quite a treat for my husband, daughter and me. We get to see Franklin, a gigantic tortoise pushing chairs and dog beds out of the way. There are cats climbing on counters, one without a tail. There’s a three-legged dog and turtle and a variety of reptiles. Not to mention, Rick, the hedgehog.

I was so impressed by JoAnn when she rescued us from the skunk issue, we ended up forming HEART Wildlife Removal together in 2015. HEART Wildlife Removal Together we are the Humane Eviction And Removal Team! It’s the only humane wildlife removal company in the area.

We would love to grow the company, but there have been some setbacks.

JoAnn works so hard, rents out rooms in her home to boost her income, budgets meticulously, but cannot catch a break. If ice is going to slide off of a roof and cut a car in half, it will be JoAnn’s car. If a dog is going to swallow a cat toy and need a super expensive surgery… It will be JoAnn’s dog. (Thank you, Lucinda!) And Lucky the cat, wasn’t so lucky recently, when she needed to have her tail amputated! (Again, not cheap!)

The foundation and roof of her home needed work this year and will need more next year. Her car has only three working gears and is constantly needing mouth-to-mouth from a mechanic.

And recently, her elderly mother has been struggling, so she has had to make a few trips 10 hours away, to try to help her mother with her sisters. When she is away, she can’t work and has eaten through all of her vacation time.

As a result of all of this, she has fallen behind on her bills and her payment plan for Uncle Sam… Way behind… ($15,000 would help her pay off the vet bills, make the needed fix on her roof, and start to chip away at her tab with the IRS.) 

To make matters worse, in March 2016 my husband and daughter were in a serious car accident, so I have not been the best business partner! (This was the accident.) Our daughter suffered a subdural hematoma, and while she got very lucky, in the first year after the accident, she missed either part of or all of a school day 130 times! So, I have been a bit busy trying to care for her and am just getting back to doing my share to help HEART Wildlife Removal grow!

Here comes JoAnn to our rescue again… Who lent us her truck, while we were still reeling from the accident and were unable to decide which car to buy? JoAnn. Who regularly brought animals over, to bring some cheer into our house and distract us, as our daughter was home recuperating? JoAnn. Who recently sent me a link to a Ted Talk which instantly eased in my mind over our struggles with healthcare after the accident? JoAnn. No matter how much she is dealing with, she is constantly rescuing others!   

I had wanted to run a ‘GoFundMe’ campaign to help pay for our commercial vehicle, so we could pay JoAnn more. But when I recently heard how much she was snowed under personally, I thought… It’s time to Rescue the Ultimate Rescuer! Would you help me rescue JoAnn now?!

(Just so you know, she is doing her best to rescue herself, by meeting with the right people to set up a realistic long-term plan... but a little boost from anyone who loves the hard, and often heartbreaking, work JoAnn does, would ease the huge climb she has ahead of her...)
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Patty Ryan Tashiro
South Burlington, VT

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