Animal Protection Society of Durham Celebrates 50 Years

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By Iphigenia Sarrimanolis | Photography courtesy of APS of Durham

APS Executive Director Shafonda Davis.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, the Animal Protection Society of Durham was forced to shut down. But the shelter adapted and reinvented itself to continue its mission of helping Durham’s animals. The staff increased their use of foster homes, started a food pantry, made virtual meet-and-greets available and restructured the adoption program to a model that is in line with the current COVID-19 regulations. This year alone, APS found homes for more than 1,200 animals.

“APS is still here for the Durham community,” says APS executive director Shafonda Davis. “Our pantry is still open, and we are helping with leashes, collars, crates and behavior support. We will continue these services if there is a need, and our community still graciously supports these efforts.”

But the shelter couldn’t do it without the support of its 725 volunteers. “The most rewarding part of volunteering with APS is knowing I have made a difference in an animal’s life,” says Susan Teer, an APS volunteer for more than 40 years. “Finding the perfect home for a homeless animal and seeing the happiness in the pet and the adopter brings me pure joy.”

“APS is very inclusive, both for its human volunteers and the animals it protects,” says another volunteer, Geoff Feld. “For a growing community as diverse and engaged as Durham, inclusivity is extremely important in helping pets in need. Anyone who has love for pets in their heart can make a difference.”

Animal Protection Society of Durham Shafonda Davis
APS Cat Technician Lauren Satterfield.

Even if you’re not looking to add a new furry friend to your family, you can still make a difference this year as APS celebrates the shelter’s 50th anniversary during its virtual Tails at Twilight: Beyond the Ballroom gala on Nov. 8. Guests can attend from the comfort of their homes while enjoying traditional aspects of the event as well as new ways to participate. Allison Chan, the 2020 gala coordinator, explains that the gala’s popular live and silent auctions will still go on, and there’s also an option to purchase a “Grab and Gala” meal to pick up from the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, which normally hosts the event. The gala committee is also coordinating a beverage pickup option with a local brewery for a cocktail hour.

“We welcome businesses to reach out to our committee or APS to find unique ways to increase their visibility during this time,” Allison says. “We hope to utilize our event to help some businesses show our community how we have stayed strong and resilient despite the pandemic.”

Registration for the event is free. Find more information at

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