It is with immense sadness that we are announcing the passing of one of our treasured team members, Dawn Forest. Dawn was not only a vital member of the Fredericksburg SPCA on our Matchmaker/Adoption team, but she was also an incredible human being. Love for animals and people flowed abundantly through her each day in the work she did. Dawn adored her job and her work family, and that includes the fosters and volunteers she worked alongside. She was much more than a coworker and we were lucky enough to come to know Dawn as a great listener, a shoulder to cry on, a hype man, a sneaky dog snuggler, and someone who came out of the left-field with jokes right when you needed them.
The entire Fredericksburg SPCA team is under 25 people in total, and the Matchmaker team, in particular, consisted of only three, including Dawn. To explain the magnitude of grief for those who worked alongside her is to downplay the loss into words we can process. The Matchmakers work extraordinarily hard to connect homeless animals to new families – a job position that is born of great passion and takes a very special person. Dawn’s role as a Matchmaker seemed made for the person she was. Her innate ability for deep listening and her compassion were the groundwork for connecting animal lovers to their new companions. She took so much enjoyment in being around the SPCA animals, getting to know each one, and bridging the gap between them and their future family. The joy and excitement she had after she finalized adoptions were palpable, and we’ll miss seeing the twinkle in her eye when she would say, “guess who just went home!?”
Today would have been Dawn’s second work anniversary with us. From the day she was hired, her kindness and warmth filled the building. She spent her lunch breaks giving homeless animals extra love, spoiling them with treats, and sitting quietly with the scared ones. One of her favorites was a dog named Sophia who was a heartworm-positive, senior gal. If she ever had any downtime, she would be bathing, walking, or loving on Sophia. Dawn was a nurturing soul whose selfless nature always meant she was checking in with her coworkers to see if they needed anything and would often cheer us up if we were having a hard day.
With great love, comes great grief, and we are all hurting as we mourn the loss of someone whose kind soul impacted so much around her. We are still navigating how to honor Dawn as we continue, but we are extraordinarily grateful she chose to dedicate so much time to make the world a better place. Dawn was a loving mother, wife, friend, and coworker. Dawn’s family has shared her obituary, which includes a tribute wall. If Dawn has impacted your life or helped you find your new companion, we would love for you to share stories, so parts of her goodness can live on.
We love and miss you each day, Dawn.
-Team Fred SPCA