Hometown Hero: Humane Society Volunteer Helps More than Animals

DIXON, Mo. -- Connie Herndon, a volunteer with the Pulaski County Humane Society, took on more than caring for animals recently.

The Dixon, Mo. woman found there was someone else who really needed her help, too.

Thirty-eight dogs were found at a home in Dixon after emergency crews were called.

Edward Donahue had walked to a neighbor's house to call 911 to get help for his dying wife. But by the time crews got there, it was too late. Sixty-six year-old Marianne was gone.

Donahue was found alone, stricken with sadness, living in an uninhabitable home with little means and overwhelmed with how to take care of the dogs his wife of 44 years loved so much.

"It was very emotional and to see him with all the animals, it's amazing because even though the animals were not in the bet living conditions they were cared for," recalls Connie Herndon. "They'd put more money towards dog food sometimes instead of putting toward what they needed and that was heartwarming to see that they cared so much for those animals."

Connie just began volunteering for the Pulaski County Humane Society. She was about to take on her first case. Little did she know she'd be caring for more than the dogs.

"Let's just say it's very simple," says Donahue. "She got me out...and put me back together."

Donahue is a new man -- a much happier man that when Connie met him.

"I'm great because every time I turn around, Connie shows up and says 'We got to go to this appointment,' or 'We got to go to that one.' She's like a mother eagle with the little ones she don't let the people get away with anything."

Because of Connie, Donahue no longer lives in that home. He has a new home and he still has two of his dogs.

"He did not need to be alone especially for those first two weeks," says Connie.

Connie stopped by his house every day, cleaning for him, caring for him and just being his friend. With the help of the other volunteers, she helped relocate Donahue, giving him a fresh start at life and making sure all of the other 38 dogs and pups had foster homes.

"That's a relief because I knew I couldn't take care of them," says Donahue. "There was no way I could take care of 38 dogs by myself. They sure come in and took care of them."

Connie's husband, 1st. Sgt. Phillip Herndon, says his wife loves and cares for all  creatures not just the animals but people in need, too.

"She saw an elderly veteran, a disabled veteran Korean War vet, Vietnam War vet, and he didn't have any help. She reached out to every avenue she could to get him the help that he needed. He's living a better life now and his life continues to improve everyday just because he met Connie."

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