Fur-Ever Friends

Dr. Bompiani-Smith helps animals live life to the fullest while living her best life.
Fur-Ever Friends

When Dr. Bompiani-Smith comes home from school, she is greeted by her canine pitbull companion, Tyson. Tyson is “the happiest dog”, although he has had some health issues. Since he is so playful, Tyson gets excited to run around and explore. His twists and turns have caused him to tear his knee resulting in a knee replacement. A short while ago, Tyson was faced with a new discovery. “He recently just had a tumor removed that turned out to be cancer. He is now recovering and the prospects look good!” said Dr. Bompiani-Smith.

Dr. Bompiani-Smith and her dog Tyson.

Dr. Bompiani-Smith has been teaching at GLSD for 25 years, not only educating teens but also spending her Saturday mornings volunteering at an animal shelter. Despite initial fears about getting too attached to the animals, her passion for helping those in need led her to make a difference in the lives of shelter dogs.

Four years ago, a friend of hers, Kelli Brisbane, became the executive director of Heal Animal Rescue, sparking her interest in volunteering. With encouragement, Dr. Bompiani-Smith decided to give it a try, not knowing that it would become a necessary part of her weekly routine.

“I absolutely love it and it’s what I call a non-negotiable with all of the other activities that I’m involved in. It’s the one thing that I make a priority because of just how I enjoy it and know that I’m doing good for these animals,” she said.

On Saturdays, Dr. Bompiani-Smith spends 3-4 hours at the shelter starting her day around 7:30. She loves taking the dogs out for short 10-15 minute walks. The shelter is located in Youngwood very close to the 5-star trail. The trail is alongside an active railroad track where she enjoys taking them. “Sometimes I will walk the dogs on the sidewalk along the road to see if the dogs are car reactive. That is something we pay attention to when we tell people interested in adopting them,” said Dr. Bompiani-Smith.

“Rhyann is a shelter resident. She is loved and spoiled by all of us!” -Dr. Bompiani-Smith

She also cleans and scrubs out kennels. Daily she sprays out and disinfects them. Also, fresh new blankets are changed out every day to ensure maximum comfort. Three times a day the dogs are refreshed with new water. She enjoys feeding the dog’s breakfast seeing their happy, wagging tails. Her dedication to these furry friends is undescribable, and she finds great joy in knowing that she is positively impacting their lives.

When a dog is adopted, bittersweet moments are filled with both happiness and sadness. Tears may be shed, but they are tears of joy, knowing that these animals are finding loving homes. Despite the emotional challenges, Dr. Bompiani-Smith remains committed to her mission, understanding that her efforts contribute to the greater good of the animals in need. She finds peace knowing that she has helped these animals on their journey to finding loving families.

Dr. Bompiani-Smith said, “It’s definitely something that I feel good about knowing that I’m helping the animals, providing comfort, until they get their ‘fur-ever’ homes.”

In the summer months Dr. Bompiani-Smith increases the frequency of her visits to the shelter. This extended commitment allows her to make an even larger impact on the animals’ well-being while they wait to find their forever homes.

In addition to the shelter, she also visits the 62-acre farm sanctuary in Latrobe. There she cares for previously abused or neglected farm animals consisting of cows, pigs, chickens, roosters, cats, and a stubborn donkey. Dr. Bompiani-Smith said, “They have all been rescued as well and that is where they will be cared for while they happily live out the rest of their lives.”

Looking toward the future, Dr. Bompiani-Smith sees an opportunity to further her involvement with the shelter and its mission in the upcoming years after retirement. Her selfless acts of kindness and compassion solidify the importance of giving back and making a difference in the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves. “It’s altogether very rewarding to know that I’m helping to do something to assist animals that need our help,” she said.

Volunteering, Dr. Bompiani-Smith has stood by their side and taken care of dogs through their ups and downs. “Even the dogs that have come to us from the worst conditions of being scared, abandoned, owners not being able to take care of them, hoarding situations, or emaciated show a great amount of love for previously being treated so poorly which is truly amazing,” she said.

Dr. Bompiani-Smith’s commitment to volunteering at an animal shelter demonstrates the incredible impact one person can have on the lives of animals in need. By dedicating her time and energy, she not only enriches the lives of these animals but also finds personal fulfillment in knowing she is making a difference.

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