This year we are celebrating
the 20th Anniversary of Metroport Humane Society. Read on to
learn about our history!
Metroport Humane Society In the Beginning…
By Sally Bigley, first MHS president
When asked to recall the beginning
of MHS, I said “Sure,
I remember it well…” Well 20 years have passed and
along with those years many of the details I thought I remembered.
So, my best effort will be to briefly reminisce on how it all
began. However, those of you who remember me know I was never
good at the brief part!
In the beginning, there was a very dedicated team of volunteers
who spent many hours working at the animal shelter in Roanoke
which was at that time, operated by the Humane Society of North
Texas as a Satellite shelter serving northern Tarrant County.
We were a group of volunteers who did everything we could to
help in any way.
For several reasons including the
fact that the shelter consistently operated at a loss, it was
determined by HSNT to close the facility
to the public and discontinue placing animals for adoption. The
facility lacked “public appeal” and adoption numbers
were considered to be low with no marketing or little corporate
News of the shelter closing left us
all floundering. We knew that this geographic area would be
left with very little focus
on helping the animals. In the early ‘90s, rescue groups
were not as prevalent as they are today. We knew that the public
wouldn’t know where to turn if they had some types of animal
So we decided we could at least set up a phone answering service,
so to speak, and let volunteers handle the calls from their homes
and at least point people in a helpful direction. So Joe and
I added a 2nd phone line at our house (not all that common in
those days), under our name, to keep costs to a minimum. This
would allow us to continue helping the animals while we began
to put together a master plan to create a new animal shelter
and run it ourselves. That would take time and a lot of money.
Enter the vision…
As I recall it was Shirley Bond who first had the vision that
we could place animals without having a shelter! Actually a
novel idea for those times. In the past Shirley had helped
at the Roanoke Animal Hospital with vet Steve Harris, matching
pets needing homes with folks looking for a new pet. She did
this using descriptions and photos on a bulletin board at the
clinic. It was successful.
So, the volunteers began to have hope. From here we decided
to go forward. The phones were working, and we were successfully
helping animals in our community. We used foster homes and advertised
in the local newspapers with descriptions and photos. Now we
had to figure out how to really organize and build a solid business.
Creating a Humane Society
We contacted the Humane Society of the United States in Washington
D.C. to ask them if they had any advice on how to start a humane
society. And they did! They sent us a great book which proved
to be invaluable in helping us to make good decisions at the
How we got our Name…
We might have loved to be the Fuzzy-Cuddly-Bark & Purr Rescue
Club, but that just wouldn’t hack it. HSUS advised that
it was critically important to define the precise geographic
area we would serve. Plus it reflected that we were serious about
our business of helping animals.
Eventually we gathered the “forces that be” in our
living room to talk about the idea of having an organization
that could help the communities with their animal issues since
the shelter had closed. Also present that evening were key volunteers
Susie Turner, Shirley Bond, and Gary Tomlin from the local newspaper,
plus Steve Harris DVM, Trophy Club Mayor Jim Carter and Southlake
Mayor Gary Ficus and probably others I can’t remember.
We talked about many issues including a distinctive name. “Metroport” was
a new name being used to define an economic development area
between the two airports, including at that time, eight cities
or towns. With the strength and support of the Big Guys behind
us, we adopted Metroport Humane Society for our name, though
it sure wasn’t very cute!
Next came the Bylaws….
As we continued building our inner structure we used the HSUS
guidebook like a Bible. It carefully led us through the requirements
for a good, solid set of bylaws which we would use for years
to come in governing MHS. It took about three months and many
meetings to write the bylaws. We were trying to make the best
possible decisions for the future of this young organization.
The Mission Statement…
Immediately into the by-law process we were confronted with needing
a clear, decisive Mission Statement. That night lasted for
hours as we sat trying to articulate what MHS was about, and
figuring out how we could concisely word it. Finally the assorted
words fell together and rolled off someone’s tongue.
It was perfect. I remember using our Mission Statement to answer
virtually any question we had about how to handle almost any
situation we confronted.
“ The Mission of Metroport Humane Society is
to Prevent the Birth of Unwanted Animals and
to Improve the Lives of those Already Born.”
A side note, years later I was visiting
a young Humane Society in Washington State and chatting with
the Director whom I had
known for several years. A few years earlier she had asked how
we were getting started and organized, etc. so I had added her
to our mailing list for our wonderful Poop Scoop Newsletter.
She offered me a copy of their newsletter – and there at
the top was our Mission Statement – verbatim! I felt so
honored. She said they had struggled for a long time trying to
come up with what they knew was right for them. Don’t they
say that imitation is the highest form of flattery or something
I always felt that MHS had a “guardian angel” kind
of keeping us on track and somehow steering us to right decisions.
We knew early that it was important to keep good records, to
be dutiful stewards of funds, always checking their use against
our Mission Statement; we had written an operations manual and
we had some history of experience.
Incorporating as a Non-Profit Charity…
With the Mission Statement established, the bylaws done, our
record keeping in place, our tax number in hand, and a great
historical base because of our experience working at the shelter
and our ongoing daily work with the phones, we were ready for
the biggest step of all. It was time to incorporate as an official
non-profit 501(3) charitable organization.
Joe Bigley serving as our treasurer
took on this complicated task. Southlake Attorney Rick Wilhelm
volunteered to review our
application and bylaws. He filed the necessary papers with the
State of Texas and didn’t charge us a penny for his time
and expertise. He later told us that it was the first time he
had seen an application for a non-profit incorporation go through
on the very first effort! See, we really did have “guardian
angels” watching out for us.
And so… on June 1, 1992 Metroport
Humane Society was incorporated as a non-profit 501(3) charitable
organization in the State of
Texas. I am so proud of what this organization has done and the
standards that have been upheld over so many years and that we
never had to jump ship and reorganize or split off in separate
directions. To me, it is testimony to the fact that those who
are drawn to be a part of MHS do so from the purest centers of
their beings and from their love for and kindness towards animals
January 26, 2012
Memories of the early days
- Floats in Christmas parades in Grapevine
- Garage Sales that were so much work and so much
fun and always
profitable bringing in $2000 to $3000 each.
- Sleeping in our car at a Garage Sale site to make sure we
were there at dawn
- Burning an unsold hide-a-bed in
Susie Turner’s pasture
following the garage sales
- MHS Christmas cards where a dog asks Santa for
a home for every pet
- Hooters Car Washes to benefit MHS
- Great Summer picnics
- Awesome Christmas parties with
all the volunteers plus some folks we didn’t even know
Vaccination clinics at the Animal Clinic with Victor Sancho
- Obedience Classes offered by Karen Vass
- MHS t-shirts, sweatshirts & sweatpants
- Writing the Tippy
pet advice column for the Sunday edition Star Telegram for
- Cleaning cat condos at Petco
- Wonderful, wonderful people…
Click on an article below to read more!