Amy Lynne Bowes knew she wanted to help abandoned and neglected pets. She always loved animals and wanted to help homeless pets in her community.
Her first rescue needed all the help and love she could get. Abby was an Australian Shepherd mix with three legs, one floppy ear, and a pair of knowing eyes that showcased a gentle soul. It may have started as a foster relationship, but Abby had found her permanent home.
Today, three rescued pets reside at the Bowes house, but adopting and fostering pets is just part of Bowes’ work to help animals in need. She volunteers for Sophie’s Circle Pet Food Pantry and Dog Rescue, a nonprofit that operates the only pet food bank in Volusia County, Fla. The group also rescues and rehabilitates dogs in need, adopting them out to loving forever homes.
Bowes, a Jacksonville-based marketing coordinator and supervisor within RS&H’s aviation practice, uses her marketing skills like event planning, graphic design and website maintenance to help lengthen the reach of Sophie’s Circle.
Sophie’s Circle and Bowes have also worked with Pilots N Paws, another group of volunteers who come together and arrange rescue flights, overnight foster care or shelter for dogs across the country. Volunteer pilots use their own planes to make long-distance adoptions possible.
“It’s all about finding the right forever home, not just a home close by,” Bowes said.
She knows from experience. In August 2016, the Bowes family adopted a feisty, 6-month-old German Shepherd/Hound mix from Louisiana named Jenny.
Bowes worked on the Lafayette Regional Airport proposal team, which won the work for the airport’s new terminal project and general consulting services contract. Last summer, the area faced severe flooding to the point where local animal shelters were evacuated.
Bowes already felt connected to the Lafayette community through her work at RS&H. When she saw the plea for help on social media, she and Sophie’s Circle responded.
From being exposed to contaminated flood waters, Jenny had many issues with parasites and arrived in Palm Coast, Fla. a shy, fearful puppy. She was severely malnourished, but after Bowes adopted her, she was treated and gained the necessary weight to be healthy pup.
“She’s now a happy part of our family,” Bowes said. “All of our pets get along great.”
Jenny, JoJo (a neglected yard dog from Tampa), and Sundae (a tortoiseshell cat who was adopted and returned five times before Bowes stepped in) not only get along in their forever home, but they’re also welcoming to any foster pet that comes to stay for a few hours or a few weeks.
Maybe they know that they’re all rescues. Maybe they know how blessed they are.
Bowes knows there is more work to be done. She helped the Sophie’s Circle team prepare in taking their second rescue trip to the Redlands region of South Florida this month. The desolate area has long been a place where overwhelmed pet owners have released their dogs out in the wild. Last year, the group visited the area and returned with 10 dogs – which quickly turned into 18 after one of the dogs turned out to be pregnant.
“Last year’s trip was an eye-opening experience,” Bowes said. “We had seen all the pictures and videos, but actually being at ground zero is more devastating than you could ever imagine.
“We met up with the Redlands girls, who are very inspiring. They spend every day making sure these abandoned dogs are fed and rescuing the ones they can.”
After returning this past weekend with several more rescued pups, Sophie’s Circle is accepting food donations, blankets, towels, leashes, treats, and other supplies. Bowes is happy to accept supply donations, or monetary donations can be made at Sophie’s Circle’s website with Redlands in the notes section.
More than anything, the group needs more foster parents. Sophie’s circle does not maintain a shelter and relies on in home fostering to help.
For more information, visit www.sophiescircle.org.