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