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WCU English Professor Finds Encouragement Through Others

By Tiffany Barnwell
On July 16, 2009

Webster local Dr. Mary Adams not only teaches English, but rescues animals as well.

Along with fellow volunteers, the ARF (Animal Relief Friends) organization (Jackson County's Humane Society) rescues animals from shelters, roads, and the community. ARF is all-volunteer and has a no-kill policy.

On Saturdays, adoptive parents gather just off Mill Street in downtown Sylva to liberate puppies, kittens, and adult dogs and cats.

"I've always had animals…[and] while I was at grad school in Houston, I volunteered then too," expressed Dr. Adams.

Dr. Adams, an Ohio native, stands as a jack of all trades. Though her free time is spent mainly with her ARF efforts, she still likes a good trashy romance novel, writing poetry, and not traveling.

"It's only when you put down roots things get done," expresses Dr. Adams.

Although she fosters 7 dogs and 10 cats, Dr. Adams still finds time to transport animals, and has rescued over 300. As maintainer of ARF's website, located at, Dr. Adams states information on the organization, available animals, instructions for adoption the application and location of the society.

"From prior job experience, I acquired computer skills that helped voice the organization's goal," explains Dr. Adams. "We need new blood."

Adoption prices range from $60-70, including benefits such as the first series of shots for puppies and kittens, worming, and spaying and neutering.

"I'm passionate about birth control; in terms of animal control, I think that…Asheville is more enlightened."

When asked what keeps Dr. Adams strong, she finds that the encouragement from her friends help most.

ARF could not accomplish their goals without help from the community. Local restaurants and building owners give permission to use lots, tents, and storage space. The Sylva Herald donates free advertising space. Community members often donate money, food, clothing and other supplies.

Want to know more? Visit or 877-ARF-JCNC.


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