“Nothing,” English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once attested, “is so contagious as enthusiasm.” Well, spend five minutes with Georgie Waite and you’ll be sure to come down with one serious case of “fur-vor” for every dog and cat on the planet.
Georgie — short for Georgionna — began her career here at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast two years ago when she was hired as a part-time Kennel Technician. But her passion and determination to heal and re-home each and every one of the hundreds of cats and dogs that pass through the shelter doors every year soon earned her a promotion to the position of Shelter Manager. “I’ve always loved animals,” Georgie explained, adding a quick clarification that her heart is admittedly drawn stronger to cats and dogs.
It’s impressive to watch her work, the focus, the knowledge. When holding an injured animal, her hands seem to know inherently where to touch and where not to touch. And she “reads” them, finding the injuries you’ll never find on the surface or even with an x-ray. You can see her doing it. It’s a gift, no doubt.
“She’s very dedicated,” said Humane Society of the Nature Coast’s Director of Development, Susana Arneson. “She eats, drinks and sleeps animals and she loves educating the public about animal welfare.”
When listening to Georgie give her verbal reports on the animals who come into her care — spouting terms like demodex, entropion and cerebellar hypoplasia – one would be surprised to learn that she hasn’t had any formal veterinarian training. Nope. Georgie, like any other person whose passion is all-consuming, is self-taught, self-driven. She engages in online studies and researches everything and anything related to the care of cats and dogs.
“She’s inspirational,” Program Manager Sarah Dieppa beamed when asked what it’s like to work with Georgie. “She’s living her dream.”
Turns out, Miss Georgie has dreamed of becoming a Shelter Manager at the Humane Society since she was about five years old. “It’s an amazing thing,” Dieppa added of the young Wonder Woman. “She found her passion in life at such a young age.”
A typical day in Georgie’s life as shelter manager of the Humane Society of the Nature Coast consists of managing volunteers and shelter area staff, cleaning kennels and litter boxes, dispensing any necessary medications and shuttling fur-babies who are in need to keep their scheduled veterinarian appointments. There are also days when they make rounds to kill shelters, which have reached capacity. On those days, Georgie literally saves the lives of any cat or dog, which would otherwise be euthanized. She then brings them to the sanctuary of the Humane Society of the Nature Coast where they are cared for and loved until they find a fur-ever home… no matter how long it takes.
According to Georgie, the best part of her job is watching the transformation of the more seriously needy animals who come to be in her care. One such animal, whom Georgie remembers most, is Popi.
“He was in complete shambles,” Georgie grimaced, still pained by the memory. “He was extremely emaciated. He had no hair and he was literally covered with mange.”
Popi came to the Humane Society of the Nature Coast in March of 2018 as the result of an emergency confiscation by Hernando County Animal Services. As a senior dog, the animal had suffered a near lifetime of physical neglect and abuse. It took two months, but with a lots of baths, a healthy diet, an assortment of medications and a near constant regimen of love and tenderness, Georgie and her team slowly nursed Popi back to health both physically and emotionally. Popi is happy now, living his days in the care of a qualified hospice foster, surrounded with love and fur-siblings.
According to Trisha McCagh, a world-renown animal communicator, educator, speaker and author: “Animals are the bridge between us and the beauty of all that is natural. They show us what’s missing in our lives, and how to love ourselves more completely and unconditionally. They connect us back to who we are, and to the purpose of why we’re here.”
I guess this explains why Georgie is where she is and why the animals love her so much.
They know she cares. They know she’s listening.
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