Celebrating Our People: Alana Flinn
Alana Flinn is an Outstanding Community Service Award winner for their work with Forget Me Not Animal Shelter, a 100% no kill shelter for hard-to-place, homeless or injured dogs in Bradenton, FL.
Alana Flinn, Project Manager, has been volunteering at animal shelters for more than 10 years. It’s more than a hobby; dogs are their passion. In 2021, after moving to Florida to be closer to family, Alana knew they wanted to find a local shelter to give back to the community by supporting the vulnerable dog population in the area.
When Alana discovered Forget Me Not Animal Shelter, a rescue that saves at-risk dogs from death row, they knew it was a truly special place. They started out doing daily walks and now commits about 15-20 hours a week to caretaking and facility maintenance to support the organization and give vulnerable animals a second chance at life.
“I live for these dogs,” Alana says. “The dogs and the volunteers create so much joy and love, and I’m grateful to spend time within that environment.”
Many animal shelters are overpopulated or do not have the resources to care for dogs with special needs such as deafness, blindness or serious illnesses. Large breeds, appearance and age are other risk factors that make it hard to place dogs into foster or permanent homes.
“Forget Me Not is so special because it welcomes pets with challenges and they never euthanize healthy dogs,” Alana says. “Our save-rate is 100%. We’ve rescued more than 300 dogs since 2013.”
Forget Me Not is run entirely by volunteers like Alana, who are specially trained to respect and treat the different circumstances that affect each dog, ultimately becoming the dog’s new family. Some animals have complicated medical conditions that require expensive medications. Others are incredibly friendly but may be old or labeled as a difficult breed.
“People undervalue and underappreciate dogs,” Alana says. “Sometimes, there is an expectation for perfection when, in reality, dogs are loving animals that require empathy, nuance and an appreciation for their unique personalities.”
It requires grassroots efforts to provide care and cover medical expenses for every new arrival to Forget Me Not. Heartworm treatment alone can cost up to $5,000 per animal. In addition to medical supplies and food, the shelter has major expenses like rent and utilities, especially during the summer heat. Cboe’s generosity will contribute greatly to life-saving medications, as well as these important operational costs.
“If we can save even one dog, it’s worth it,” Alana says.
If you’re interested in adopting a dog, Alana suggests checking out these guidelines from the ASPCA and carefully considering the following factors before taking in a new pet:
- First determine the size of a dog you’d like to adopt.
- Be open-minded about the breed. A responsible shelter will be able to match your or your family’s needs with their animals.
- Once matched, meet with your new furry friend multiple times before bringing them home.
- It takes time for pets to adjust to new surroundings—typically at least three months—before they feel comfortable and at ease in their new home.