Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre & Dance
Until her move to Missouri in 2008, Sarah Wiggin loved animals but hadn’t taken an active interest in animal welfare. That all changed after she found her house full of rescued strays – nine dogs and a kitten – less than a year later! She writes, “I was horrified by the pet overpopulation problem we have in this region.”
From then on, Sarah dedicated her free time to working toward reducing the number of stray animals in the area. Known by some as “the stray whisperer”, Sarah uses social media and local organizations to find homes for the many strays found by herself, friends, and students. When she found a stray American Brittany Spaniel, she became involved in the American Brittany Rescue (ABR) organization in St. Louis, where she is now a volunteer. She is also on several transport lists, a service that moves animals from one location to another across the country. “I love driving the transports: I get to have direct contact with the animals I’m helping to save, and it is wonderful knowing they have been given a second chance. Many rescue organizations have need for transport volunteers and I encourage friends and students to get involved as well. All it takes is a vehicle, a tank of gas, and some of your time.”
She goes on to recommend several ways community members can help the animal rescue effort locally: “Volunteering at a shelter; fostering animals; donating food, toys, blankets, or money; helping with transporta; even just spreading the word through social media.” Sarah is also a proponent of spaying and neutering pets, which people can do with the help of local organizations such as Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) and Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation (SAAF), as well as adopting animals through local shelters, rescue organizations, online programs like petfinder.com, and the Humane Society. As further advice she writes, “I would like to encourage the citizens of Southwest Missouri to collar, tag, and microchip their beloved pets. Should the animal get loose, you have improved chances of finding it.”
For her ethical leadership and community engagement, illustrated by her dedication to the welfare and happiness of local animals and her service to pet lovers of the community, we are delighted to recognize Sarah Wiggin as our November Public Affairs Spotlight!