NACHS director: All things need care

Published 10:01 am Saturday, June 5, 2021

NATCHEZ — Natchez-Adams County Humane Society Director Christie Cassel wore navy blue scrubs with pink paw prints on them at the Humane Society Shelter on Liberty Road, close to where The Dart landed this week.

Originally from Longview, Texas, she found her way to Natchez twice. Her dad moved to Natchez from New Jersey, and when he got sick, she decided to take care of him for six years until he died.

“I came to take care of him until he passed and then I just stayed,” Cassel said. “My kids were already in college and I was like ‘yeah this is a nice place. I think I might stay.’ It is nice here. People here are really friendly.”

Her kids went off to college and she hung around Natchez for nine years before moving to Lubbock, Texas. A year later, she came back to Natchez because “I had so many friends here,” she said. She has been back in Natchez for a year.

Cassel worked as a real estate agent, in nursing homes and she painted and cleaned homes before a friend told her about the open position at the humane society. She applied and got the job in November. It is the first time she has worked in an animal shelter, she said.

“It’s been very busy but it is enjoyable,” Cassel said. “We are pretty set on everything we need. People are actually very generous. All of our local veterinarians are just fabulous. They are so helpful.”

She said working in the humane society is similar to working in a nursing home. They are both care taking jobs. Growing up she took care of her siblings, so being a caretaker is what she does best.

Care taking is about making humans or animals comfortable and being there for them, she said. Both need an advocate for doctor visits to make sure the best care is provided, she said.

“Honestly, no one should ever die alone, whether it is an animal or a person,” Cassel said. “(It is different taking care of) animals, because animals can’t tell you what is wrong. They can’t tell you if they are hurting. They just look at you with these sad eyes. They are crying and you just have to figure it out. It is like having a baby. You just don’t know.”

One animal she took care of was named Sweet Pea. Two of her legs were broken and her hip was broken, Cassel said. Sweet Pea had to be on cage rest for a couple of months before she got well enough to have a leg amputated.

Cassel’s son and daughter-in-law came to visit and fell in love with Sweet Pea, she said. Her son adopted Sweet Pea, so the black lab is now in Texas with three English bulldogs.

“I was like ‘Yay!,’” Cassel said. “It is so much harder for the ones who have an amputation or are challenged, for people to adopt them.”