CEO Rebecca Stevens Has Led the Transformation of the Humane Society for Hamilton County’s Facility and Philosophy

Writer / Natalie Gargiulo
Photography Provided

The story of Rebecca Stevens, chief executive officer at the Humane Society for Hamilton County, has unfolded as the love for a dog created a pivotal moment that reshaped her path and charted a new course for the shelter.Humane Society for Hamilton County

Her journey from the world of marketing to the forefront of animal welfare is marked by what she refers to as a “divine” moment, with the unconditional love for a four-legged friend.

Stevens, initially hesitant due to her limited experience in nonprofits, found herself at a crossroads when the shelter approached her to lead the humane society.

“The decision to become part of the shelter was weighing heavily on my heart,” Stevens says. “While I always loved marketing and the financial rewards that came with having a successful career, I was never spiritually fulfilled. My checking account was full, but my soul was on empty.”

However, fate intervened in the form of her dog, Maggie, an American bulldog who became the catalyst for a profound change in both her life and the shelter she would soon lead.

Maggie, tragically becoming a paraplegic, became a compelling reason for Stevens to embrace the role of executive director. Maggie’s need for constant care ignited a passion within Stevens, steering her towards a path of empathy that would redefine the shelter’s mission.

“Maggie was my whole life,” Stevens says. “The job that I was currently in was very demanding so I wouldn’t be able to be with Maggie. There was a moment after her injury that a calm came over me, a sense of absolution where I knew what I was going to do. I took the job.”

Under Stevens’ visionary leadership, the Humane Society for Hamilton County underwent a metamorphosis. The change came in the form of a purpose-built facility designed to provide each resident cat and dog with ample room and access to sunlight.

Humane Society for Hamilton County“Since being with the humane society, I’ve had a lot of time to dream about the facility that we would design one day – a facility that would mitigate all of the things that we had struggled with throughout the years,” Stevens says. “We made sure the animals had windows and light, and a better quality of life. We finally were able to get the new facility in Fishers, and moved in in 2021.”

This created a nurturing environment that was not just about a new shelter; it was recreated with Stevens’ belief that every animal deserves a chance no matter what condition the animal is in, just like Maggie.

“I credit my dog, Maggie,” Stevens says. “She never did walk again. However, she singlehandedly influenced the philosophy that I have established for this organization for all of these years – a no-kill shelter that gives every animal a chance.”

Stevens says donations play a crucial role in funding the care provided by the shelter. The shelter’s impact extends beyond adoptions, encompassing support through fostering, volunteering and corporate partnerships.

Stevens aims to spread the message to residents about the desperate need of the shelter.

“I implore our supporters and the citizens of Carmel to know that we are your shelter,” Stevens says. “If you love animals and want to support them, please support your local shelter. Rescuing an animal can be so impactful, like Maggie has been to my life. We have so many animals waiting for someone to come and give them a chance.”

To donate or volunteer, visit Society for Hamilton County

Comments 1

  1. STEVE FARLEY says:

    Thanks to Rebecca and her amazing HSHC staff along with the legion of volunteers she has recruiting to take care of the hundreds of dogs and cats at this state of the art facility! I was deeply saddened when my Great Dane, Roger, died unexpectedly a few years ago. I signed up for volunteer dog walking and kennel cleaning classes at HSHC and now I’m in year number three of helping to care for these deserving animals. Thank you, Rebecca and HSHC!

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