LUMBERTON — A longtime volunteer for Franny’s Friends, Deborah Jacobs of Pembroke, was remembered Saturday for her love of animals and her commitment to seeing that no animal would ever be mistreated or without a permanent loving home.
And even though she wasn’t present, at least two animals found homes in honor of her.
“Deb Jacobs was one of our volunteers who would pick up animals off the road, whether they were hurt, sick or lost,” said Frances Stayton, who started the nonprofit animal rescue Franny’s Friends in 2009. “… We have lost another angel on this Earth whose purpose was to save and care for animals. God has called her home, but her job on Eearth was well done.”
Jacobs, who died June 28 at the age of 61, was recognized by her peers Saturday during a pet adoption held outside the Petsense store located on Fayetteville Road. She was touted for her willingness to foster dogs and cats until they could be given away to a good home, and was credited with being responsible for saving hundreds of dogs and cats each year.
Stayton said that Jacobs was always optimistic.
“Her favorite statement was ‘You know what? It’s OK. It will be all right.’”
According to Stayton, Franny’s Friends was organized when she saw a “great need” in Robeson County for another animal rescue organization to ensure that animals would not suffer from hardship and cruelty. She said her group is small and just includes a small core of volunteers rather than a large number of members.
“We all work together with other rescues and other people in the county to help our animal populations,” she said. “We help to see that animals are vetted, spayed and neutered and placed in homes where they are not just pets but loved as family.”
Stayton said that she believes her organization is helping to protect and ensure a good quality of life for animals in Robeson County.
“We have made our mark,” she said. “We have done it silently.”
By about 1:30 p.m. Saturday, at least two dogs and one cat had been adopted. One dog, a Chihuahua and Dachshund mix called a Chiweenie, became the first family dog for Beth and Walter Perry, of Lumberton, and their four children.
Beth, a teacher at Purnell Swett High School, said that she had seen the dog, born on Christmas Day, at the home of Jacobs the day before she died.
“We wanted to get the dog, but after Deb died we didn’t now where it was taken. We came today to this adoption after we saw in the paper that it was going to be held. We had no idea that the dog we wanted would be here.”
Sandy Petrich, of Lumberton, came to the adoption Saturday with the intention of adopting a second dog.
“In honor of Deb, I’m going to get another dog today,” she said. “…They (Franny’s Friends) do a great job. They try to find forever homes for these animals. Sometime that takes time.”
Saturday’s adoption was attended by several individuals who provide foster care for animals rescued by Franny’s Friends.
Those fostering animals included Robyn Wilcox, a nurse from of Murrells Inlet, S.C.; Celina Fonseca of Pembroke; Sandy Locklear of Lumberton; Sandra Smith of Lumberton; and Deborah Sessoms of Bladenboro.
Dean Schmude, manager of Petsense, called Franny’s Friends a “fantastic group.” He said he began working with Stayton and her group about four months ago.
“They care about animals and what they are doing,” said Schmude. “We plan to continue working with them in the future.”
Stayton said that donations to support her organization are always welcome. Donations to Franny’s Friends in the name of Deb Jacobs can be sent directly to Southeastern Veterinary Hospital at 1720 N.C. 211 West, Lumberton, N.C., 28360, or by PayPal at FranyFanny@yahoo.com.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.