By Cheyenne Shoemaker
Sarah Spiker-Rainey found her calling soon after arriving in Northeast Texas.
Not only as a college professor, but as the local area’s very own animal rescuer.
Rainey and her husband recently purchased land and a home specifically to broaden their rescue work, and she is determined to make a difference in the local abandoned animal population.
“When I arrived to the area I was shocked by the number of animals that were left astray with no one to care for them,” Rainey said. “It was heartbreaking.”
Her love for animals runs deep. As a third generation animal rescuer, she knows no nothing more then pouring her heart, time and money into the well-being of each and every neglected animal that crosses her path. Regardless of the financial burden or the time strapping schedule, Rainey will not blink an eye at picking up an abandoned puppy on the side of the road.
Her rescue work with animals began when she took in a cat that was left starving on a college campus where she was previously employed. “It was a cat named XYZ, the college kids would feed her leftover tuna trying to keep her around, so one day I rescued her and later adopted her out,” said Rainey.
Since then she has rescued dozens of animals, both dogs and cats. She has also created a website called Rainey Rescue, and is currently working on opening an animal rescue facility in Daingerfield, Tx.
Her kind nature and love for all things furry is becoming well-known among faculty and students all over the Northeast campus. “She has a special place in her heart for animals,” said NTCC Government Professor Rex Allen. “She saves them and gives them care until she’s able to adopt them out.”
Rainey is firm in her beliefs on the way animals should be treated. “A pet is a family member that we have invited into our home, to treat them as if they are disposable is an affront to humanity,” she said.
Rainey said she has serious concerns about the way some people in the area treat their animals. She said they seem to be done with their animals once they have served their purpose. “Animal cruelty laws in Texas definitely need to be beefed up,” she added.
Actions speak louder than words, and in Rainey’s case that couldn’t be truer. As an animal lover, she has given up everything that is a byproduct of an animal, including honey. “My choice to be vegan is definitely stemmed from the same place as my love for animals, but meat is also something I’ve never been able to enjoy,” she said. Her dedication and devotion to her beliefs will not be swayed, as she has also chosen a vegan diet for her dogs.
Throughout her life Sarah Spiker Rainey has worked with many rescue groups, one of which blessed her with her good pal and personal pet Copper. Copper began as a foster dog that was placed with her by Basset Buddies Rescue. “Clearly I failed at fostering because I just had to keep him,” she jokingly said.
Rainey has added a uniqueness to the NTCC campus that has not gone unnoticed by her students. “Her class was hard, but I learned a lot and I got to think critically about things that I had never thought about before,” said Joanna Armstrong a former student of Rainey’s. “Her work with animals says a lot about her as a person, not only that she has these convictions, but she’s willing to spend so much time and money on something she is so passionate about.”
Her students aren’t the only ones she is making an impression on; her co-workers are also taking notice at her good heart, great skill, and unique personality “She is a good person, very caring, she sets a good example that everyone should follow,” said Allen.
“She brings such a unique perspective with her views and her diverse outlook,” said NTCC History Professor Melissa Weinbrenner. “She’s vegan and she’s an animal rights activist, she adds diversity and intellect to our program.”
Most of the funding to care for the rescued animals comes from Rainey herself. Although she does have a go fund me website and has began an Adopt-A-Pet program, which is currently helping fund her rescue project.
When arriving here and realizing how bad the stray problem was Rainey was astonished to find out how badly people neglect to have their pets spayed and neutered. “It costs $60 to have your pet fixed, if people would just have their pets fixed it would help with the problem,” she said. Another upsetting discovery for Rainey when moving to Northeast was how high the number of dogs that are euthanized in her area was and how few dogs are adopted out of pounds. “Ninety percent of dogs in the pound are euthanized around here, and for every one dog that you go out and purchase from a breeder, you’re allowing one suffering dog to be put down,” she said.
Rainey has most certainly made a name for herself both as a professor and an animal lover. Her passion for all things furry and her giving heart and kind character has made her a profile of admiration on the Northeast campus that everyone seems to be taking notice of. As Mr. Allen stated she has set an example that we should all follow.