Jill Bannink-Albrecht, environmental health clerk with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, works nights and weekends to serve her community by assisting terminally ill people with caring for and finding new families for their pets. Jill was interviewed by TODAY for an article about her non-profit organization – Tyson’s Place Animal Rescue. She operates without a facility but with a small network of foster homes that welcomes animals when their human owners become too sick to care for them.
Jill said she felt motivated to start Tyson’s Place after years of working at an animal shelter with a high euthanasia rate. “Older animals just didn’t have a chance there, and it was so sad when we’d get in older animals where the owner had passed away,” she recalled. “They’d often be traumatized and they wouldn’t show very well or seem adoptable. They were often the first to be put to sleep.”
News of the group’s existence spread quickly among hospice workers, who have its founder, Jill Bannink-Albrecht, on speed dial. To date, Tyson’s Place has helped 22 dogs, 15 cats and a 17-year-old cockatiel named Bubba. “I feel it’s really important to provide peace of mind to people who love their animals so much and are already dealing with something so stressful,” said Jill. “And it’s great to provide a second chance for the pets who might not have gotten it.”
Many of the animals who need to find new homes are older — often over the age of 10 — and Jill said that can be “a hard sell” even though the lifelong pets are well-adjusted and well-trained. To increase their chances of getting adopted, she arranges to have all their veterinary and grooming needs met — including anything that might have slipped while a family’s attention has been laser-focused on caring for a sick person.
Mission: Tyson’s Place Animal Rescue is dedicated to assisting terminally ill people with caring for and finding new families for their pets. www.tysonsplacerescue.org, www.facebook.com/TysonsPlaceRescue
Pictured: Jill Bannink-Albrecht, founder of Tyson’s Place Animal Rescue, with two senior black labs named Spike and Stella. Tyson’s Place helped the dogs after the man who owned them died of cancer at age 44.
Article content gathered from TODAY Pets & Animals
‘A sense of peace’: Terminally ill woman finds help for pets in her final days