Cheryl Wicks: We count our blessings for the holidays | TheUnion.com
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Cheryl Wicks: We count our blessings for the holidays

During the holiday season we reflect on the past year, count our blessings and give thanks to this great community.

At Sammie’s Friends, Curt and I have replaced ourselves with two outstanding people. Lorie Hennessy, shelter director, has done a great job taking on a tough job this past year. Liz Taylor, finance manager, has carried on where Curt left off. Liz has developed a new shelter management system Shelter Tracker. This was a requirement of the June 2018 contract with the county. Liz’s new system is easy to use and costs $50 a month.

By contrast the old system Pet Point was difficult to use and had gone from $3,000 per year to $15,000.



We are grateful for our awesome staff. They work hard, are dedicated to the animals and are all around great people. We are lucky and so are the animals. We couldn’t do what we do without our 150 volunteers, who have walked the dogs and cuddled kitties for 20 years. Our office volunteers are essential to the smooth running of the shelter. I can’t forget our many foster parents who do the impossible work of caring for and loving with all their heart and then letting go to the new family.

It really does “take a village.” We love the village and couldn’t do what we do without every single one of you. Working together we have made a huge difference for the animals in Nevada County.

Our immense gratitude goes to Joanne Castles and her crew (staff and volunteers) at Sammie’s Nifty Thrift Store. Our new store opened on Nov. 4 at 535 Main Street, Grass Valley. Many people have come to visit and made purchases already. Every cent of profit goes to the animals. Many thanks to all of you who choose to donate your used and sometimes new items to us. Without you we would have nothing to sell. Getting from the old store to the new was a huge job and Joanne and the team managed to pull it off without missing a single day of business. If you’ve ever wondered who the real Wonder Woman is, her name is Joanne Castles. We love her. We thank her.



Sammie’s Friends provides $230,000 for the medical care of the shelter animals every years and another $200,000 for our community veterinary program and spay/neuter program. Where does that money come from? As they say “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” It comes from the many donations our wonderful supporters make, the Thrift Store, grants, events and estates. My oh my — what on Earth would we do without all you amazing people?

We are grateful to our veterinary community. I marvel every day at how fortunate we are to have so many exceptional veterinarians in such a small community. Our veterinarians have great minds, great skills and big hearts for the animals. They are truly a blessing for all of us (two and four legged, finned and feathered).

Sammie’s Friends receives support from many of our local businesses in the form of money, supplies and time. We know that our local businesses get asked repeatedly by many nonprofits. We also know that with power outages our local businesses have had their own problems, but they keep on giving. Many thanks for being there for us in so many ways.

We are grateful to our Animal Control partners who work hard at difficult jobs, ensuring that the animals in this community are treated well. We are appreciative of the good relationship we have been able to establish with county personnel. We feel blessed to have several other animal rescues in this community who work every single day to help the animals. Thank you!

It really does “take a village.” We love the village and couldn’t do what we do without every single one of you. Working together we have made a huge difference for the animals in Nevada County. Sammie’s Friends has saved the lives of 28,000 animals. The other animal rescues have saved many animals as well. Wow!

Love, Cheryl and Curt.

Cheryl Wicks is the Co-Founder and President of Sammie’s Friends


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