Mary BarnesMary Barnes

I am Mary Barnes and I live on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. I was born in Texas and grew up in Arizona where I graduated from the University of Arizona. After graduation, I was commissioned into the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. While serving at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, I met and married my husband who was also a Naval Officer. The years that followed took us to many places but in 1990, he retired and we moved back to Virginia. In retirement, I stay busy as a GED Examiner at our local jails and administering Nurse Aide certification examinations. I also serve as an election official for the county, and help out on a part-time basis with my local veterinarian. In addition, my husband and I love to travel.

As a child, I had several family dogs. I have always loved animals so, as an adult, I knew dogs would be part of my life. While living in Alexandria, Virginia we adopted an English springer spaniel from a no-kill shelter. He was our first dog and was named Barry. We adopted an ESS quite by chance because I knew nothing about the breed. There was just “something” about this dog. Barry traveled everywhere with us. While living in Japan, his many escapades earned him quite a reputation in the Navy community and beyond including the Marine sentries. Barry was the dog that allowed me to learn how to home groom, how to practice obedience lessons, and how to practice home veterinary medicine. He taught me more than I can recount and was a joy for the 12+ years we owned him. We still laugh when recounting his many antics.

After we lost Barry, we wanted another dog and it goes without saying, it had to be a Springer. So we acquired Jenny, a retired show champion. She opened up a whole other world to us. Suddenly we discovered the world of show dogs, obedience competition, and agility. I was able to put a Therapy Dog International title on Jenny and spent many happy hours taking her to the local hospital and nursing homes. Her gentle temperament and years of charming show judges made her not only the perfect therapy dog but also a wonderful companion. Like most who have ever lost a dog, even after all these years, we still miss her.

Not long after returning to Virginia, I was asked to serve on the board of our local SPCA, and I did so for almost 15 years. Even after I rotated off the board, I was called upon for all-things Springer. In early 2003, I was notified that an 8 year-old ESS had been surrendered to the SPCA. I went to see him and brought home the dirtiest, smelliest, most matted ESS one can imagine. His name was Snoopy and he was nothing but pure love despite living his entire life tied-up in a backyard. After a thorough grooming, I called MAESSR who accepted him without hesitation. I was even allowed to foster him. He was my first foster dog and I was hooked. Snoopy was quickly adopted and I began my association with this organization.

Since fostering Snoopy and becoming a volunteer for MAESSR, I have continued to foster, conducted interviews for prospective adoptive homes, conducted post-adoption interviews, mentored new volunteers, performed shelter checks, and of course, transported many dogs. Most recently, I began helping with owner relinquishments. While all these jobs are important, for me fostering is by far, the most rewarding. Because we often travel, we do not have a dog of our own. This allows us to foster dogs that prefer to be “only dogs”. Having a foster dog in our home, however, really makes it a complete home.

Recently, I was invited and agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of MAESSR. Since first joining this organization, I have been consistently impressed with the dedication of its members who so generously give of their time, talents, and resources. Never have I been associated with a more hard working, selfless group of volunteers who never tire of helping the dogs we so love. I am honored and pleased to serve on this board and continue my association with MAESSR.

Contact MAESSR
If you have limited email access, or if you know of a Springer in need, you can contact MAESSR by telephone at (301) 362-0423 or you can always email us.

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