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Love at First Bark

When then-librarian Anne Caldwell hit a rough patch in life, it was her “first love,” Randy who helped her out. This wasn’t a handsome hero who swept her off her feet, but rather a dog, a “cantankerous old jerk,” who gave her something else to think about. 

A few years back, life wasn’t going great for Anne. She lost some loved ones, went through a rough breakup, and things were just not going well. She started to think about things that would cheer her up and decided to be around animals. 

“I’m a huge believer in the healing and therapeutic powers that animals have,” Anne said. 

She went to Huntsville Animal Services to see about volunteering or possibly fostering a pet, but when her eyes met Randy’s, it was love at first sight. She walked up to his kennel, and he jumped into her arms. The other workers were surprised. It turns out that Randy didn’t like other people. He spent most of his time at the shelter growling and barking at people when they went by, not exactly helping himself get adopted quickly. 

Little did she know, Randy would upend her life for the better. Still, the other animals she saw in the shelter haunted her. 

“I actually kind of credit him with changing the entire trajectory of my life,” Anne said. “I was a librarian at the Madison Public Library when I adopted him, and when I went to go get him and just saw the rows and rows and rows of animals that needed help, it kind of broke my heart, so I started volunteering. But it slowly takes over your life.” 

After volunteering and fostering with Huntsville Animal Services for a while, Anne moved to A New Leash on Life in a paid position helping with fundraisers. When a position for the CEO of the Greater Huntsville Humane Society opened up, Anne applied. 

“I did not in a million years think I would actually be considered for it because I had been in rescue for a relatively short time,” Anne said. 

But she was considered. In fact, she got the job and was named CEO of the Greater Huntsville Humane Society almost one year ago. It’s a job she loves and knows helps the community. 

“Not very many people can say they really, truly love showing up to work every day and it not feel like work,” Anne said. 

Like any good rescue worker, Anne has a houseful of dogs — five to be exact — including three chihuahua mixes.

And Randy. 

About the author


Jessie Harbin

Jessie lives in Meridianville with her husband, baby and four dogs. She thrives on chaos, and loves finding good news stories where you least expect them.

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