Growing up in the ’50s, Mary Spencer didn't dress up her dolls; she found more joy in dressing up her pets…and not in her dolls' clothes but in unique styles that she sewed herself. She even held fashion shows where each pet pranced down the hallway in vogue. Sometimes the models' clothes matched the designer's! Yes, this small-town East Texas girl had a big heart for animals at an early age.
Mary still marvels in the unconditional love animals bring. For almost 20 years, she's served on the board of directors for the SPCA of Texas, six of those years as chairman of the board. In 2007, she was awarded the SPCA of Texas Lifetime Achievement Award for her numerous volunteer efforts and animal advocacy projects. Most recently, as the founder and president of The Spencer Company, a furniture dealership, Mary planned, designed and created the interior of the SPCA of Texas Life Care Cottage in McKinney. The 2,300-square-foot facility is playfully designed for orphaned pets.
Mary's passion for writing also began at a young age. When she was only 11, she wrote a weekly column for the town of Commerce's newspaper called "Happy Talk." Similar to "Dear Abby," her column offered advice for a younger audience…her pre-teen friends…and it earned Mary a nickel an inch!
Fast forward some years and Mary now writes a column in the White Rock Lake Weekly called "Yappy Talk." You can guess what her topic is….
Since 2005, Mary has rescued and fostered more than 500 animals. Some of their "tails" are told in All My Fosters are Rockstars. The book is a fast read, full of statistics and important pet-related issues such as spaying/neutering, ringworm, microchipping, and diet. Hard-to-read chapters that are not to be overlooked cover animal cruelty, puppy mills, and breeding farms. The author encourages potential pet owners to adopt a pet from a shelter versus a pet store, as many pet stores take animals from breeding farms. Mary wants this cycle to stop.
"Each year the SPCA of Texas receives over 20,000 homeless animals—abandoned, discarded, or surrendered by their owners," says Mary. "If this book causes one person to adopt a new pet at a shelter rather than to purchase one from a pet store, I will feel successful."
While the book is eye-opening and educational, it reads more like a memoir. "Actually it is somewhat of my memoir," says Mary. "I wanted to educate people in a humorous way and show that any average person can do what I have done." She adds, "Fostering is so important in so many of our homeless animals' lives and if everyone would be aware of the needs of these animals and help just a little by fostering, we would not have to put down so many adoptable animals."
Mary is open about her faith in God and believes there is a purpose for every animal's existence. "I believe animals have souls," she says. "I have also been amazed at their resilience to trust humans again after they have suffered horrible abuse. They want to trust and can forgive so quickly. Not forget—but forgive."
Do not let the few typos in the book distract you from its warm and feel-good message. It is a delightful read and one you will want to share with your friends. Plus, all the proceeds from the book benefit the SPCA, a local shelter, or an animal welfare organization. To purchase your copy, visit petopia4paws.com.