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Meet Megan Sturdevant

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Sturdevant.

Hi Megan, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Live Love Animal Rescue was started in 2016 by our Executive Director, Emily Peters, based in Long Beach, CA. Over the last several years, Emily and the Live Love team have grown the organization into thriving foster-based animal rescues, primarily focusing on dogs. Live Love has partnered with multiple shelters in the Southern California area and worked with members of the community to bring dogs into foster homes and adopted them into their forever homes or provide education and funding to keep dogs with their families.

I first began working with Live Love in 2018, when I moved to California. I signed up to volunteer and knew quickly that I wanted to get more involved with this team and community. Eventually, I was invited to join the Board of Directors and enthusiastically accepted.

In 2020, I moved back to my home state of Colorado and decided I’d like to expand rescue operations into the state. It has been quite a journey learning how rescue operates in Colorado, and seeing where the biggest needs are – both in Colorado and beyond. This year, we have decided to focus primarily on rural shelters in the state and have been learning quite a bit about the issues unique to these areas.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Rescue is a uniquely challenging and rewarding area of work. Most people (myself included) are unpaid volunteers and have to balance their “regular” life (work, school, kids, etc.) with the demands of rescue. 2021 and 2022 have been particularly challenging.

Following 2020, where many rescues helped to “clear the shelters”, we are seeing an unprecedented amount of owner surrenders. Every shelter and rescue in Colorado (and beyond) is at or over capacity, foster homes are difficult to come by, and donations are down across the board. Every rescuer wants to save every dog – it is heartbreaking to see euthanasia lists and know that you don’t have the space to help.

Compassion fatigue is something every rescuer has experienced but isn’t talked about enough. That being said, I have met some of the best people I know through rescue work. Those connections, and seeing a dog comfortable and happy in their forever home, make all of the struggle and heartbreak 100% worth it.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
At my “day job”, I am the Operations Manager for two companies: LED Supply Co. and PURO Lighting. I have been in this position for over 7 years. The skills from my workplace have translated well into the busy and sometimes chaotic world that is rescued!

The rest of the time, I am running Live Love’s Colorado rescue operations, and taking care of my own two rescue dogs. We run a very small operation in Colorado, but I am proud to say that in 2022 we have rescued five dogs from rural shelters. Three have found their forever homes so far, and we are working hard on finding families for the other two! This number may seem small, but it represents a lot of time, work, and love from multiple parties during a year that has been challenging, to say the least.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
There are so, so many people who help within the rescue community – it would be impossible to name them all. There are five women, in particular, I’d like to highlight: Emily Peters, Angela Robinson, and Lisa Darcy with the Live Love team, Laura DeGroat from Rover’s Stay and Play, and Brittany Higgins with Hwy 50 Freedom Ride.

Emily, Lisa, and Angela are the reason I’m able to do what I do. These ladies have been such an amazing team and sisterhood, and I have learned countless lessons from them. Rescue is a communal effort, and I could not do it without this fantastic team of women.

Laura has been an invaluable resource and friend as I’ve gotten our operation moving in Colorado. She is always there to offer boarding and daycare services when we’re in a pinch, and her friendship has kept me going on days when everything seems impossible.

Brittany runs the transport group Hwy 50 Freedom Ride. She networks dogs coming from the La Junta and Rocky Ford Animal Shelters and has been doing so for years. She is the reason we have been working with rural dogs, and her successes in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds have truly been an inspiration for me this year.

There are so, so, many other people who have helped make Live Love and keep it going – I can’t fully express how appreciative I am of the rescue community both in Colorado and in California.

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