Sometimes, goodness just runs in the family.

One of the first staff members our visitors at the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County meet is Carol Legrand, our Kennel Manager. To say Carol is a miracle worker would be an understatement. Behind the scenes, she is the hard-working animal welfare expert saving the lives, and then, just as importantly, securing the healthy futures of the countless dogs, cats and every other type of animal brought into our shelter on a daily basis. A previous employee at Animal Services, Carol has seen it all, and done it all, and more often than not, is the first kindly face our animals encounter during their transition from neglect to safety.

So, imagine how thrilled our HS/SPCA was eight years ago when Carol’s very own granddaughter, Tegan, began volunteering for us! Inspired by her grandmother’s lifelong compassion for animals, the impulse to join our tireless force was irrepressible for Tegan. “Watching my grandmother do everything that she does at the HS/SPCA- even when she takes work home with her, fostering animals- I became inspired to help. I realized that there will always be an animal in need of our help. What the Society does is incredible, saving and re-homing the lives of animals that need loving homes, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Prior to coming to our HS/SPCA, Tegan was already a youngster busy at work with animals through another organization. “I was born and raised in Inverness, FL and hardly ever got out of Citrus County. Animals were always a huge part of my upbringing. Growing up in a small town, 4-H was one of the only things to do/be a part of.” So, for seven years Tegan served as a 4-H member, showing swine, rabbits and poultry. “And although I am no longer showing, I couldn’t cut all ties.” Instead, those former 4-H ties ended up, in a roundabout way, ultimately leading Tegan to us. In the happiest turn of events, and like so many of our volunteers who develop personal bonds with our animals in need, Tegan even ended up adopting from our shelter. Among her furry brood is a Golden Retriever, Sam, a cat named Oscar, and two ducks.

When asked about her most memorable experience as a volunteer thus far, Tegan is quick to answer. “My first ‘Big Fix’ spay and neuter clinic. Not only was I able to care for the animals before and after their surgeries, but the mobile vets had actually given me the opportunity to watch and learn of the procedures which was a great experience considering my career path.”

Did we mention that Tegan is currently studying veterinary medicine in school?
Yep! That’s right. Just like her grandmother, this ambitious young woman has settled on a future dedicated to animals. No doubt, with her skills, compassion, and inherent love for animals, the veterinary world will benefit from Tegan’s entry into it. And we look forward to seeing what she achieves. Plus, Tegan has demonstrated another great skill as a culinary professional, already earning two certifications upon her high school graduation. She has generously shared this passion at our special events with a table full of Tegan’s Tasty Treats!

But in the meantime, we will settle for watching this change-maker work her magic on our grounds alongside her fabulous grandmother. Our team at the HS/SPCA is all the stronger for having both of these women on board! And for her years of dedicated service to helping us fulfill our mission, we salute Tegan as April’s Volunteer of the Month. And we encourage others to follow in her footsteps by joining our team because, well, the rewards of being part of our animal rescue efforts are so great.

Like Tegan says: “The emotional gratification that you receive from volunteering at the shelter and all of the events is something that you can’t get anywhere else.”

We couldn’t agree more, Tegan. Keep making us proud. Just like your grandma does!