NORMAN, Okla. - The day starts early for Deb Melser in Norman.
That’s because she’s working three jobs, all while making time and using her own money to rescue dogs and cats, many that have been dumped on the street with nowhere to go.
“She’s truly a voice for the voiceless,” Jenny Patten explained. “If there was ever an angel on Earth, it’s Deb.”
That giving spirit is why Jenny Patten nominated Deb Melser for the First Fidelity Bank Pay It 4Ward Award.
Matt Robinson at First Fidelity Bank heard about Deb’s work and knew this is exactly the kind of thing the Pay It 4Ward Award is all about.
“It sounds like Deb’s selfless service to rescue animals in the Moore area is an inspiration to us all, and we wanted to get behind that,” Matt said as he gave Jenny Patten $400 to give to Deb.
“Thank you,” Jenny said, holding back tears as Matt gave her Deb’s prize. “She’ll love it.”
With little time to spare, our crew followed Jenny to the place we knew we’d find Deb doing her thing: The Second Chance Animal Rescue in Norman.
But when we pulled into the lot, something we didn’t expect happened.
A large group of Jenny and Deb’s friends got word of the prize and were there to help us surprise Deb in just a few minutes’ time.
As we all stood in the parking lot waiting for Deb’s boss to bring her outside, the electricity in the air is thick.
Then, the moment arrives.
Deb comes out of the shelter, only to see our crew waiting for her with her friends.
“Deb, you are such an inspiration to your friends, to the rescue family, the rescue community,” Jenny said, trying to maintain her composure. “But more than that, you’re a hero. A hero to so many animals!”
“You drive miles and miles to get animals out of rural shelters to keep them from being euthanized. You spend hours and hours looking for lost animals. And you are truly a voice for the voiceless. They can’t speak for themselves, but I’m here to speak for them. On behalf of KFOR and First Fidelity Bank, I have something for you. Don’t make me cry!” Jenny says as tears stream down her face.
“Thank you!” Deb said, becoming more emotional with each second. “Oh, you guys! What are you doing?”
With Deb’s friends clapping, Deb tells us how she got into rescues.
14 years ago, she rescued Opal, a dog she stayed in touch with even after finding a forever home.
“He just passed away last year, but he’s really the one who got me started,” Deb explained.
The problem was after Opal, there were so many other stray dogs and cats that came her way, all needing her help.
At Second Chance Animal Rescue, the beings blessed by her work lined the facility, with rows and rows of good dogs and even a few cats, all looking for a forever home.
Each one had their own story of being hard out on their luck.
“I just want to see them happy and healthy, and finding new homes and living out their best life,” Deb said.
“Well, you try to get her to have some downtime, and she’s always, ‘no, I gotta do this, gotta go look for this dog, I gotta…’ you know, she’s shuffling around in her poor little car,” Cindy Adams, the manager at Second Chance Animal Rescue chimes in.
Meanwhile, Deb’s friends know she’ll spend all of her prize money on dog food, vet bills and anything else that’s needed to rescue pets.
So they brought gifts of their own, some in the form of gift certificates, so she’d have no choice but to pamper herself a bit.
“What are you guys..,” Deb began as her friends showered her with gift certificates, spa treatments, a candle. “What are- Oh my gosh! I can’t believe this! Oh my gosh. Thank you guys so much.”
Deb Melser, we say thank you to you for caring just a little bit more about others and making this world a better place.
The work Deb and the Second Chance Animal Rescue does isn’t cheap, and the organization she works with can always use a little extra cash.