To commemorate their 20-year anniversaries at the Animal Welfare Society, Kim VanSickle, left, and Bobbi Adkins received personalized engraved pavers to be placed in prime locations in the entryway of the AWS Adoption Center in West Kennebunk. COURTESY PHOTO

WEST KENNEBUNK — Two longtime staff members of the Animal Welfare Society are each celebrating 20 years of service with the organization.

Shelter Manager Bobbi Adkins and Lead Canine Training Instructor Kim VanSickle both joined AWS three days apart in September 1998.

Adkins began her career at AWS as an animal care technician on Sept. 8, 1998, while VanSickle, a certified professional dog trainer, started the AWS behavior and training department on Sept. 11, 1998.

“AWS has come a long way over the past two decades,” said Abigail Smith, AWS Executive Director. “Our growth and success in service to our community is (due) in large part to the compassion and commitment of our longest serving staff, Kim and Bobbi.  We are grateful for every extra mile each of them has gone for the animals we aim to help, and for the expertise and thoughtfulness they bring to us every day.”

With a lifelong love of all animals and after working in several other professions, Adkins found the right fit at the Animal Welfare Society. As shelter manager, she oversees all facets of Animal Shelter and Adoption Center operations.

She has played an instrumental role in the organization’s journey to becoming the progressive, life-saving rescue organization it is today.

Adkins has a vast knowledge of all kinds of animals and their care and has assisted in many state-led animal cruelty cases. Her co-workers say that she sets the highest standard in customer service, always in the pursuit of achieving excellence for people and pets.

Through the years, VanSickle has built the AWS behavior and training department to include five certified trainers, more than a dozen options for weekly group classes, behavior workshops, social hours and more.

Besides that, she continues to support the behavior care of the canines who enter the shelter and the staff that care for them.

Smith said that VanSickle is highly sought after in the community for her skills as a trainer and has offered hundreds of private consultations to pets and their owners over the years.

As part of the celebration of their work with AWS, both Adkins and VanSickle received personalized engraved pavers, which will be placed in prime locations in the entryway of the AWS Adoption Center.

The Animal Welfare Society is a nonprofit organization in West Kennebunk that exists to provide humane shelter and care to companion animals temporarily in need of housing, to assist in disaster response and to further the cause of responsible animal adoption and ownership through education and public awareness. It actively promotes kindness, the elimination of cruelty and neglect to all animals, and the lifelong commitment of people to their pets.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]

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