MILTON, Ga. – With bouquets of flowers lining desks and tables in the waiting room, the people at Loving Hands Animal Clinic and Pet Resort, near Bethany Bend, are mourning the tragic loss of one of their own.
Rebecca Carey, 23, of Decatur, a worker of less than six months at the clinic, was found dead Aug. 12 at her Decatur home, the victim of a bizarre dog attack. Rebecca owned five rescue dogs, and was caring for a neighbor’s dog.
Police theorize the new dog got into a fight with the others, and when Rebecca tried to intervene, she was bitten and may have fallen and hit her head.
Rebecca had dedicated her life to caring for her four-legged friends, said fellow employees. Now in dealing with their loss, her co-workers remember her love and dedication to animals.
“She had the gift of calming animals, and they responded to her – the ones that nobody else could get around,” said Loving Hands Administrator Judi Bailey. “She was a gifted young woman.”
She was eager to help and loved working with animals, Bailey said. Despite working at the clinic for such a short period of time, she had been given a promotion just six weeks ago and was on her way to being a great veterinary assistant.
“From day one, we knew she was destined to do more things,” said Bailey.
Rebecca was first noticed missing Sunday, Aug. 12, when she did not to show up for work.
“This was a young woman who would not miss work without calling in,” said Dr. JoAnne Roesner, of Loving Hands.
After failing to reach Rebecca on her phone, Bailey and her staff called Rebecca’s emergency contact person who went to her home and found her body.
She had been at work just two days prior.
The death was jarring for the 25 employees at Loving Hands.
“I think we’re all moving a little slower, more conscious of what’s important,” Roesner said. “We’re more willing to say ‘I love you’ to each other.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Patti Silva, with the Milton Love Project.
Silva said that as soon as she heard of Loving Hands’ loss, she placed a wooden sign in the front of the clinic depicting an angel with a dog.
“I know a lot of people were affected by her death,” Silva said. “The Milton Love Project just wants to let them know we’re thinking about them.
“She did such good work,” Silva added. “She was doing her own love project.”
Rebecca fell in love with helping animals at a young age, often fostering animals, and had several she had adopted. At Loving Hands, she had dedicated herself to helping any animals she came in contact with, especially birds. This love has spurred the dedication of the avian ward in the clinic to Rebecca’s memory.
Her compassion for animals can be summed up in a simple story.
Roesner said Rebecca came in to work one day earlier than usual and came across a stray cat that had been hit by a car in the road. It was in a terrible shape.
“She wanted to be with the cat when it was put down,” Roesner said. “She said ‘I don’t want anybody to be alone.’”
Rebecca knew the cat was nursing a litter of kittens, and Roesner said she set about finding each one of them.
“She found every single one of the kittens and bottle fed them and tamed them,” Roesner said. “This was who she was.”
Now the kittens are up for adoption in the waiting room of Loving Hands and are as loving and tender with people as if they had always grown up with them, instead of born feral.
“She took a lot of sad creatures in the world and would make their lives better,” Roesner said.