“There’s that handful of people that you know you can always depend on, and I think that’s one of those special things about our area.”
Carol Amos is a self-ascribed “Parsons Lifer.” By all accounts, and, mostly for the better, she was molded and shaped by the suburban Wilkes-Barre neighborhood. She cut her teeth in that skinnin’ knees, climbin’ trees, hide-n-seek phase. Then, there was a classic coming of age in that dress-in-black, sneakin’ out, “hangin’ out” at the top of the park phase. All, of course, necessary for a proper child of the 90s.
From there, the James M. Coughlin grad attended college and settled into a 17-year career at Geisinger. For Carol, however — who, from an early age found herself at the mercy of two distinct and somewhat mutually beneficial predilections: a love for animals and a propensity to fly by the seat of her pants; this was simply not enough.
Today (still in Parsons), she’s somewhere in that “30s/40s/Oh, who’s counting?” phase. Only now, she’s figured out how to bring all her skills, talents and passions together as the new Education/Volunteer Coordinator at the SPCA of Luzerne County. She’s educating the public, serving her community, encouraging pet adoptions and advocating for local pets. What’s more, she does it while surrounded by dogs, cats and the occasional bearded dragon.
We recently caught up with Carol in the adorable pet courtyard at the SPCA. And with Piper (a gorgeous Great Dane mix) by her side, she took on the hard-hitting questions, like Why NEPA?
How long have you lived in NEPA?
Forty-two years! My whole life! Go ahead and put my age out there. I don’t really care (laughs).
What do you love about your town?
I love that we have this close proximity to just about everything you could need or want. Of course, I’d love to be out in the mountains somewhere, but, then again, I am spoiled — being so close to 81, close to shops and restaurants, and close to my friends. So, for me, it’s about being close to everyone I love and everything I love to do. Plus, I’m really close to work, so you can’t beat that.
What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?
Ok. I know a lot of people like to go down a whole list, but I can absolutely say for sure that it’s Margarita Azul. I could eat there every day. In fact, I’m going there tonight (laughs). I love it. Without a doubt, that’s my favorite.
What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?
I’m hanging out with my dogs – always! We take walks everywhere. We love to go hiking at Frances Slocum. I take them there all the time. That’s like their favorite place to go. We also really love camping and try to go every chance we get. Outside of that, I love going out to eat with friends and catching up at some of our old hangouts like Dukies or Café 99.
What’s next for you?
For me? That’s a tough question (laughs nervously). I’ve kind of always been a “day-by-day” type of person. I guess, professionally, I’d like to continue to be here at the shelter making an impact in the community. I hope we’ll be seeing positive changes in the community regarding our dog and cat populations.
And, personally, you know me. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. I always have. I’m not one of those five-year plan types. I’ve always kind of looked at it like, if one door opens and there’s a good enough reason for it, you go with it. And I think that comes from my mom. She’s always been that way. My brother – not so much. He’s a planner. I am not. That’s just how I’ve always lived my life. And it got me here… in this job that I love. So, something’s working (laughs).
Where do you see NEPA headed in the future?
I hope we continue to see more young people coming in and starting their careers and raising their families. We’ve got a lot to offer here. There are so many great schools and neighborhoods that are perfect for young families just starting out. So, why not stay here? Why not make a life for yourself here? It’s growing. It’s moving forward. And I hope we continue to see it going in that direction.
This is home. It’s always been home. Sure, sometimes it’s good to get out of that comfort zone, but again everything you know is right here – your friends, your family, your favorite local restaurants and small businesses. It’s just home. It always will be.
**Extra Bonus Question: What do you think NEPA needs to know about the SPCA of Luzerne County?
Ok. There are some huge misconceptions. Number one: we are not your grandfather’s dog pound. This isn’t what it was years and years ago. We have adoption programs and education programs. We provide humane pet euthanasia for the community. Many of our animals are long-term residents. In fact, one of our dogs, who had been one of our longest stays at 18 months, just recently left. We’ll keep them as long as we can, and if that doesn’t work out here, we try to move them to another shelter and get them more exposure. Basically, this is not a place for people to “dump” their animals. We provide a very necessary public service. Whether you have to surrender your animal, or if you need to put them down, we’re here to provide that service – to provide that often difficult and heart-breaking last act of love for our community’s pets.
Visit the SPCA of Luzerne County to learn more about adopting, donating, volunteering, upcoming events and other services.