By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manser gave HOPE to Effingham County animals
HOPE plaque
Memorial plaque honors long-time shelter benefactor Pat Manser. (Submitted photos)

Special to the Herald

SPRINGFIELD – Dogs, cats and Effingham County Animal Shelter Director Lorna Shelton never had a better friend than Pat Manser.
“She was my best friend,” Shelton said on July 6 with tears flowing down her face. “She literally helped thousands and thousands of animals.”
Manser, the founder of Helping Out Pets in Effingham (HOPE), died June 7 after a lengthy battle with colon cancer. She was a major supporter of the Effingham County Animal Shelter.
“This is a memory wall for Pat,” Shelton said while pointing to a plaque in honor of Manser that she had just placed in the shelter. “If anybody has any photos that they want to send to the shelter of them and Pat at past (HOPE) fundraisers, we will be glad to put them on the wall.” (Photos can be sent to
Manser moved to Effingham County about two decades ago and immediately went to work helping the shelter.
“She came sporadically at first,” Shelton said. “There was no social media at that time but she would take pictures and email them to (pet) rescues throughout Georgia. Then she would set up transports when the dogs would get selected.”
Eventually, Manser took on a larger supportive role.
“Animals would come in injured but not necessarily be put to sleep because (the injury) was a fixable thing,” Shelton said. “That’s how she started HOPE. She started raising money and started taking those animals to vets if they needed a leg amputated or casted.”

photo collage
The public is encouraged to share photos of Pat Manser and the animals she helped save.
Manser was quickly urged to create a nonprofit organization for her efforts.
“People said that because everybody would give more since donations would be tax deductible,” Shelton said. “She filed her papers (with the Georgia Secretary of State) in 2012 to make it official (in 2013).”
Even as her body weakened, Manser’s devotion to the shelter remained incredibly strong.
“The week before she died, she’d still call me and talk to me about what I needed here at the shelter and what she could do to get funds for whatever I wanted,” Shelton said as her eyes moistened again. “She was still working for animals. She always, always raised money and it turned into more because I always wanted more.”
Manser agreed to let Shelton use funds set aside for a spay/neuter program for vaccinations and worming instead because pet owners weren't affording themselves of the opportunity.
“She agreed to do that which, of course, cost more money,” Shelton said.
One of the shelter and HOPE’s greatest collaborations is the Barn Cat Program. Through it, feral felines are trapped, taken to a vet to be spayed or neutered, and then returned to the place they were caught.

Manser's fund for treating injured animals also remains.
“We need to continue to garner donations to make sure Pat’s dream stays alive,” Shelton said.