Pets and positivity: Winchester woman helps animals, veterans, others

Published 8:10 am Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Much of Heather Carter’s life revolves around animals.

As a pet groomer and business owner, a foster volunteer for the Clark County Animal Shelter and an animal rescue worker as well, animals are always around.

Animals have become a way for Carter to give back to the community and to other shelters. In recent months, she’s organized fundraisers for independent animal shelters in Texas following the hurricanes as well as for K-9s for Warriors, a Florida foundation that places and trains service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disease or traumatic brain injuries.

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The last one, she said, collected about $1,100 in four days leading up to Veterans Day, between pet photos and donations.

“Our clients had already been supporting them,” Carter said.

Following the Texas storms and flooding, Carter searched for a specific animal shelter to help which may have been bypassed.

“We wanted to help,” she said. “We knew a lot of the big (shelters) were getting help. We picked an independent shelter and raised about $470 for them. We try to be charitable when we can.”

With Christmas in full swing, Carter is organizing people to bring their dogs or other pets to Fountain Circle Health Rehabilitation to visit the residents for the holidays. Animals must be well-behaved, she said, and be up to date on vaccinations.

“The staff loves for us to come,” she said. “The more the merrier.”

It’s another way to be involved with animals.

“Growing up, I had all the animals no one wanted,” she said. In school, she participated in the Future Farmers of America and raised lambs.

“Everyone said I’d be a veterinarian, but I can’t do blood and needles,” she said. “So I went into making them pretty.”

Carter attended grooming school and age 18, and has owned three grooming businesses through the years, counting her current FairyTails Pet Spaw in Clark County. Her work in animal rescue and foster care grew from her love of animals.

“There’s always a need,” she said. “If I can’t take them, I’ll network with another rescue to get them in.”

Sometimes, it seems like the animals find her, she said.

“I went to Louisiana two weeks ago … and there was a little dog outside a store,” she said. “I contacted the local shelter and they said, ‘Oh we know him. He escapes all the time.’ I shared it on my Facebook page and Winchester people said, ‘I’ll pay to ship him back.’ People are always willing to help.”

Carter said she and her husband will have anywhere between one and five rescue animals available for adoption.

“There are so many in need, it’s easy to get overwhelmed,” she said. “I’d go into a shelter and my husband would say, ‘We can get one.’ He’s my voice of reason.”

People have brought animals to Carter that they found, or other organizations needed a place to put them temporarily.

“Once they come here, they stay until they’re adopted,” she said. They try to stay local for placements, but people have driven from as far away as New York when an animal was the specific one they want, she said.

Rescuing animals, she said, is part of working with animals, she said.

“When you get in the pet industry, it’s inevitable,” she said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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