On September 30th, 2005, Michael Shrewsbury passed away after a two-year battle with cancer. Michael was the Director of Animal Services for the city of Sherwood, but he was so much more than that. Michael treated the animals under his care with compassion. His humanity, required him to be humane. His shelter was a place where homeless animals came to find new homes, not to die.

He gave of his time and talents to the helpless animals beyond what his job required. He made enormous contributions to FuRR. Our monthly spay/neuter clinics were held at the Sherwood Animal Shelter under his supervision, when he could have been relaxing at home. Even as his cancer progressed he continued to give of his time to FuRR to ensure the clinics would continue.

FuRR extends it's deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, even as our hearts have been broken over his passing. Michael is proof that "the good do die young."


I will always remember a night at a late CARE spay neuter clinic, standing outside, leaning on the railing and talking with Michael - really doing more listening than talking. In this one conversation I learned one of the most iimportant things I've ever learned about animal rescue. Michael taught me that to be really effective at what I want to do I have to have not just compassion for the animals, but also for the people I deal with. He said that that will help me accomplish much more than if I focus only on the animals and always treat the people as though they are 100% wrong - even when they are. I try to do that now - and he was right.--Susan Loesch

Michael, You never missed a chance to educate others of animal welfare. There is no greater gift than to teach another how to help animals. One by one the world becomes educated, one animal, one person at a time. I also noticed, you never missed the chance to smile, to pass the 'good in us'on. We all have learned much from you and are lucky to have known and grown from your wisdom.--Rita Cavenaugh

The very first time I ever met Michael was not under ideal circumstances. It was in 2002 and I had four very sick bottle fed kittens that I brought along to a s/n clinic in Sherwood. One had just died on the way there and I was not in the best of spirits.

Michael was leaning on a small table next to Leslie when I set the carrier with the kittens, on a table next to him, in a corner and covered them. I proceeded to discuss with Leslie, what might be done for them.

Michael listened, but didn't say a word. I was wondering who this person was, as no introductions had been made. He just looked at me strangely, most likely wondering the very same thing about me.
As I left and entered the next room, I heard him ask Leslie, "Who is that?" And, "Does she know what she's doing? One kitten has already died." It kind of hackled me to hear that. Just who was HE to ask, anyway?

He quietly watched on the sidelines through the day as I cared for the kittens and volunteered with recovering cats after surgery. (I was not yet a board member.) He was going to make up his own mind if I was really capable of caring for such tiny creatures. My curiosity about him also mounted. This being one of the first clinics there, few others knew him either.

It wasn't until two MONTHS later, that I learned who he was and why he was ALWAYS there at our clinic. It surprised me, because he didn't appear to have the attitude that went with being "in charge". He was "just a regular guy". It was then that I understood why he acted the way he did at first. He only had the kittens' best interest at heart, feeling it was his duty to save them, if necessary, from an inept caretaker! Lol!

We later came to have confidence in each other, knowing that we're there for the same reasons. He liked to visit with us during the clinics. I, personally, enjoyed his stories of his daily job and all the various situations he encountered, as well as how he handled them. We often literally applauded his actions, with "atta boy!". No names were ever given and he never spoke badly about anyone. It was always about helping people with their animals and education.

At another clinic in Feb. '05, there had been quite a managerie of critters surrendered within a short time, most likely unwanted Christmas presents - two parakeets, a ferret and a guinea pig, just to name a few.

It just so happened that my husband and I were considering getting a ferret for our daughter, for Christmas. But for some reason, we held off. (destiny?) I expressed an interest in the ferret. Michael simply handed the ferret over. I asked, "Where's the paperwork I need to fill out?" He said, "Don't worry about it, I know you're a good home." Mikayla LOVES that Ferret!!

He attended the HSUS conference in Atlanta in April '05. He made time to meet up with the three of us insignificant 'FuRR people' who also attended. (compared to all the rest that were there, that's how I perceived it!) He'd meet us for breakfast and ask if we were having a good time and learning. He took it upon himself to be a one man welcoming committee for us. He seemed to know EVERYBODY there. We learned that he'd attended EVERY HSUS conference for the last 17 years!! No wonder he knew everyone!

One of those evenings, he was in the mood for steak, so we all walked to the Hard Rock Cafe, around the corner from the conference. He was happy and content, having a good time. The more I learned about this man, the more I came to admire and respect him.

I'm sorry that I couldn't bear to talk to him more often as his illness progressed. As with those animals we care for and love, I cannot bear to see anyone suffer. It hurt me to see him hurting, and there was nothing I could do to help; I offered body parts to save him, but he only smiled and said it wouldn't.

He will remain the one shelter director to whom all other shelter directors will be compared. He will be sorely missed.--Sandy Staat

 

 

I met Michael for the first time only one month before he was diagnosed with cancer. Thereafter, I saw him at each FuRR spay/neuter clinic. What I am amazed at now is that each time I saw him, and asked how he was doing, he always indicated that he was doing wonderful. This was not a man to complain. For a long time, I didn't realize how grave his condition was because he always seemed so upbeat. Even though I didn't spend much time with Michael, I knew from hearing others talk about him that we were kindred souls. I have been very surprised at how deeply his death has affected me - it has been similar to how I felt when my own father died a few years ago. Michael was 1 year younger than me, and that makes me realize how short his life was on this earth.

His service yesterday was wonderful, inspiring, uplifting and brought so much emotion to the surface for me. I was so very happy to learn that Michael was a Christian, and now I understand better his grace and dignity during his illness. When the pastor mentioned that Michael had one very special question, I knew immediately what it was: "Would there be animals in heaven?" All I can say is that if there are, I know they all met Michael at the pearly gates, barking and purring! I hope that my 22-year-old Annie, who I miss with all my heart, was the first to greet and welcome him.--Sharon Morris

It was a privilege to know Michael. He was always the consummate professional who dealt with the helpless animals under his care with boundless compassion.

I attended many spay/neuter clinics with Michael. He treated the frightened patients with expert handling and calm tenderness.

I once fostered some cats that were temporarily housed in Michael's shelter. When he reached for one cat to put it in a carrier, it was so frightened it bit him very hard. The only sound from Michael was a cry of pain, there was no anger and the cat was placed with gentle care into the carrier.

That cat was eventually adopted into our household. Sam has become a shy, but sweet and loving family member. He "spoons' with me every night in bed.

Homeless animals in AR had no better friend than Michael. They will miss him very much and his human friends and admirers will be left without his friendship and his shining example.

To Michael's family, I send my sincerest condolences. You can be proud of the life he lived.--Johnny Angell

We are so fortunate that Michael Shrewsbury lived among us. He made a wonderful contribution to Arkansas and to the world of animals. He set the standard for community animal services, and was a friend to all who worked to deal with the sad plight of animal welfare and overpopulation. He knew what he was doing and did it well - he made a real difference. It was an honor and a privilege to have him in our midst.--Gloria Lane

Michael was an inspiration to so many. Not only for his passion in saving animals, but also for how he fought the cancer that plagued him, with dignity and strength of spirit. I only met Michael a few times at the FuRR clinics, but I knew what a kind and thoughtful person he was just by looking into his eyes. May God bless you, Michael.--Jennifer Franks

It was a privilege to know Michael. He is truly a personal inspiration to me. He did so much for all the
animals in Arkansas, I only wish he could have had more time to continue his work. He will be greatly missed by so many. Michael, if you see Tasha the Siamese cat, please give her a kiss for me.--Carma Rhodes

My prayers and utmost sympathy are extended to Michael's family. I am deeply saddened by his passing, as there are few finer people on this earth. He came to many an animal's rescue, as well as my own in times of need, and taught me a great deal. I consider it an honor to have known him and to call him "friend". I will miss you, Michael - take care of all of our babies until I can come help you out! With sympathy-- Ragenea Thompson Hodge.

Michael was a wonderful person and an inspiration. He will be greatly missed by FuRR and all others who knew him.--Sara Malone

Although I never met Michael, I spoke with him several times with inquiries about trapping, spaying, and neutering feral cats. I have done many rescues with the help of FURR and the Sherwood Animal Shelter and have felt the emotional frustration with each rescue. Michael's dedication to save and provide quality of life to so many who could not speak for themselves, was a gift to us all. He was unwavering in his efforts to give so much of himself. I know of Michael's reputation and I find comfort knowing he is now providing a warm lap for so many little ones to sit upon. My thoughts and prayers are with his familiy, friends, and his beloved pets.--Michele Pasilis

Someone very special was needed to care for all the animals at the Rainbow bridge. Michael is the perfect guy for the job! We will miss him dearly, here on earth.--Feline Rescue & Rehome