WAPPINGERS FALLS, NY.-- Karen LeCain is always putting animals first.
LeCain runs Compassionate Animal Rescue Efforts of Dutchess County (CARE of DC), sheltering dogs, cats and any other animal that needs assistance out of her home in Wappingers Falls home. The all volunteer-based shelter is not open to the public.
More than 90 percent of the cats and dogs that come in are fostered out to families to care for them until the animals are ready to be adopted.
The charity was approved at the beginning of December and has become a partner with PetCo, hosting adoption events at its Poughkeepsie location every Saturday. The no-kill shelter takes a lot of animals from New York City and the South, often swooping in right before the animals are euthanized.
"Those are the cases I love," LeCain said. "A month ago, we received a special plea from the city about Vicky a dog with an infection in her uterus. We had four hours to get her out of the shelter. We had to save that dog. We got her and took her to an animal hospital."
Vicky has since recovered and according to LeClain, "now she's gorgeous," but she is still looking for her forever home.
"You wouldn't believe it's the same dog," LeCain said.
LeCain said she's been devoted to animals her whole life, from the first time she could crawl. Once her home needed a new roof, but then she read a story about pot bellied pigs that needed a home.
"I began building a barn for the pigs, before I put the roof on," LeCain said.
All animals are welcome at CARE of DC. LeCain gets calls from the sheriff's office and local police, which has led her to take in a pregnant squirrel and a woodchuck that was hit by a car.
"I love animals and I'll do anything to help them," LeCain said. "I've put my heart and soul into this. When an animal looks at me, I have to take care of it."
Helping a pet find a forever home is what keeps LeCain going. A woman came into PetCo and while looking for a restroom, she walked by a 2-year-old Shih Tzu that LeCain was looking to find a home for.
"She said she had prayed that she would find a new dog," LeCain said. "When she saw the dog, she said, 'That's it. That's the dog I have to have.' When she took the dog home, her daughter, who has Down Syndrome walked into the room and screamed. The dog ran to her and jumped in her lap. Stories like that make me cry."
Running a shelter and working a full-time job as commodity broker is a very hectic life.
"We literally get up at 5 and do feeding and cleaning until 7," LeCain said. "I take a quick shower since I have to be at work at 8. Then I'm home again at 5 and take care of the animals. I often don't have dinner until 9:30."
Despite the hectic life, LeCain said she pushes on to ensure every animal has a place to stay.
"I am determined to continue as long as possible to save as many animals as I can," LeCain said.
For more information, visit http://careofdc.org/