David and Janet Parker have served the Town of Seekonk for years.
Dave is selectmen chairman and Jan is town clerk, but it is their volunteer efforts in support of the Seekonk Animal Shelter that make them True Santas.
The Parkers realized the shelter needed help when they first visited it many years ago.
“We saw how little they had to work with — no phone, no washer and dryer, no refrigerator. She had nothing,” Jan recalled.
So they created the Save-a-Pet Society. The non-profit organization provides needed funding for the animal shelter, buying food and supplies and paying for veterinarian bills. That was 27 years ago. This year, the shelter had 151 dog and cat adoptions.
“There’s so much that Save-a-Pet does. Without them, I couldn’t do what I do,” Animal Control Officer Sharon Hall said.
“That’s what we’ve been doing for 20 years, picking up the slack,” Dave said.
The Parkers have always been dedicated animal advocates.
“I think the way people treat animals says a lot about a person’s character,” Jan said.
The Parkers also created Save-a-Pet’s annual fundraising auction, which they ran themselves for 15 years. The first auction was held at Town Hall with five items.
Now the Save-a-Pet auction offers 200 to 300 items and raises $20,000 annually.
Jan serves as treasurer of Save-a-Pet, which has 40 volunteers. Many are young people who help with the website, Facebook page and fundraising.
“We have a great group of volunteers. We get a lot of support from the community and local businesses,” Jan said.
Save-a-Pet is currently working with the town to build an addition to the shelter.