Healdsburg shelter's new director quickly makes her mark

Julie Seal, the new head of the Healdsburg Animal Shelter, has been on the job only two weeks, but the early reviews are glowing.

"She is a dynamo. She is unbelievable, she is fabulous," said Kathleen McCaffrey, president of the shelter's board of directors. "She has so many skill sets. We're delighted the Healdsburg Animal Shelter gets to benefit by them."

Seal has a background working with animal welfare organizations, as well as fund-raising, which will help raising $1 million needed to complete the new shelter, now under construction on Westside Road.

She also is concentrating in other areas, beefing up shelter staff, ramping up the volunteer and foster program and raising the profile of the shelter and its animals.

One testament to her skills is the longevity of her own pets — three cats, two of whom are 21 years old.

"One has no teeth and is deaf as a stone," she said, adding that she plans to add a dog to her personal menagerie to replace one that died.

The other sign of her commitment to her work is that she took "a significant pay cut to take the job."

While her salary was not disclosed, McCaffrey acknowledged it is well below six figures.

"We're not paying her half of what she could be getting," the board president said.

Seal has extensive experience with animals, beginning in 1995 when she founded RESCUE, an Arizona organization that saves animals scheduled to be euthanized.

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