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Check Out Kaitlin Thompson’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaitlin Thompson.

Hi Kaitlin, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My friend Melissa Kreisler has worked in animal welfare her entire adult life. She seized an opportunity to open an animal rescue in Shawnee, KS when she moved her dog daycare and boarding business to a larger location in January 2019.

Melissa asked me to join her team as a leader and I sort of fell into my current role as the marketing and public relations manager. Professionally I am a nurse but I had a knack for getting my fosters adopted via social media and I love to write. I started running the social media for the rescue and the role sort of evolved into what it is now! I oversee all of Melissa’s Second Chances branding, website, social media, newsletters, PR and events! I do all of this work as a volunteer and still work full time as a nurse at Children’s Mercy!

My most important role of the rescue is that of foster mom! I foster puppies and kittens, specializing in young babies who need extra attention or those with unique social or medical needs. I recently foster failed a kitten with medical issues. He has four bowed legs from malnutrition as a neonate.

It’s been a journey to say the least. When I started with the rescue, we had one dog in our care. Today we have 158 animals in our care! It’s ever-evolving and it seems like every two weeks, we need a new strategy and a new plan to pivot (especially through COVID) but it’s been a very fulfilling experience. I’m proud of what the MSC team has built and who we plan to become!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all!

Animal rescue is general just isn’t easy. It’s full of daily obstacles and challenges. There is always more need than availability. Learning our limits was one of the most difficult challenges starting out. We would sometimes bite off a little more than we could chew (we still do that!). We have developed relationships with a lot of other rescues in the city and will work with them to find placement for animals when we don’t have space. My most vivid memory is taking a large transport of cats from Texas in our first month of operation and we were not prepared at all. The cats ended up being sick and we scrambled to fundraise to finance their medical care, find fosters and some of the cats were with a for close to a year because didn’t have the network and community to get them adopted. I could never regret saving those cats! But it was a good lesson on limits.

COVID-19 presented a huge challenge to MSC, just like most nonprofits. The first being that we have always relied on Melissa’s Menagerie, Melissa’s daycare and boarding business, as a corporate sponsor and they were no longer able to help us. All of our events and fundraisers were canceled. Finances became and immediate worry that we struggled through the entire pandemic and are still recovering from now that events are picking back up.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My background is in nursing. I am a Burn Specialty Nurse at Children’s Mercy and have worked there the past nine years.

When MSC opened its doors in January 2019, I jumped in with two feet as a member of the leadership team (which was comprised entirely of volunteers). I fell into the position of Marketing and Public Relations Manager because of my love for promoting animals online and writing about them. The management team at MSC is still almost entirely composed of volunteers. Melissa is our Shelter Manager and she works full time and we have an Adoptions Manager Nancy Gassmann who works 15 hours a week. Myself, Bridget Kieras our foster manager, Beatrice Bernal our Medical Manager and Deb Plucknett our Volunteer manager are still volunteer roles!

Any big plans?
I plan to serve Melissa’s Second Chances as the Marketing and Public Relations Manager as a volunteer until it has grown into a big enough and well-funded enough organization to hire someone for the role! I think I do a good job but I could never be naïve enough to think someone able to work for the rescue full time couldn’t do better!

I guess you could say my plans are to help the rescue grow to a size large enough that I lose my title and leadership position! Sort of like raising a child not to need to you anymore! But I will never be done volunteering and fostering. I love animal rescue and Melissa’s Second Chances is an organization that I feel proud to lead. My teammates and I are full of mistakes but good intentions and we always place the best interest of the animals first.

Contact Info:

  • Email: hello@mscrescue.org
  • Website: mscrescue.org
  • Instagram: @melssecondchances
  • Facebook: @melssecondchances
  • Twitter: @mels2ndchances
  • Other: TikTok Mels2chances


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