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Pieces of Eight

ECU Survey Research Director Mandee Foushee Lancaster spends quality time with Luna, a homeless cat awaiting adoption at the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. (Photo by Judy Currin)

MatchMaking Efforts Benefit Unwanted Animals

In coordination with the Recognition and Rewards Committee of the ECU Staff Senate, the Pieces of Eight series honoring exceptional ECU staff recognizes Mandee Foushee Lancaster.

By Judy Currin

Mandee Foushee Lancaster is Eastern North Carolina’s ultimate matchmaker. Whether it is homeless pets or small businesses, Lancaster brings together those in need with those who can help them.

“Volunteering with the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina is much like working at the Office of Economic Development,” said Lancaster, director of the Center for Survey Research in ECU’s Office of Economic Development (OED). The office combines applied research with outreach services and resources for area businesses and organizations.

“Serving business, industry, local state and federal government, individuals and non-profit organizations, OED links the expertise of its own staff with those of the university’s faculty and students to address the economic and community development needs in eastern North Carolina,” Lancaster said.

Like the Office of Economic Development, the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina covers all counties east of I-95, and uses a similar approach to aid homeless pets: the Humane Society offers every animal training and obedience courses, socialization opportunities, food and shelter, a fenced-in area to play, and much-needed attention. The shelter can accommodate approximately 70 dogs and 40 cats.

“We work hard to socialize the animals so they will be more adoptable,” Lancaster said. “The OED makes people’s lives better, while the Humane Society makes animals lives better.”

A volunteer since 2006, Lancaster was encouraged to get involved by a co-worker. An animal lover at heart, she “fell in love with the whole operation.” Lancaster joined the board in 2007, and was elected vice-president in January of 2008. She will inherit the helm as president this month.

Lancaster said her goal is to uphold the society’s mission: to serve as a safe haven for homeless and neglected pets and act as a resource to the community.

“By educating the public about issues pertaining to animals, we can work towards the elimination of over breeding of dogs and cats and teach owners to be responsible pet owners.” Lancaster said.“At the same time, we hope to facilitate adoption of pets to good homes so that we can allow more unwanted animals to find a temporary home with us.”

Lancaster serves as an adoption counselor for the facility.

“It’s more or less a screening process that matches pets with new owners and assures us they will be in a good home,” she said. Lancaster adopted two cats from the society.

“Six-year-old Callie was rescued from the animal shelter with asthma and an auto immune disorder. With proper medication she is thriving.” And just last week she adopted a snowshoe Siamese from a military couple deployed to Italy.

“His name is Simon,” Lancaster said. “He’s a sweetheart.”

Around in one form or another since the 1920s, the Humane Society is a non-profit, no-kill organization that relies on fundraisers and donations to care for the animals.

A list of fundraising events can be found on HSEC’s web page at Every animal is evaluated on temperament and health before it is taken in.

A paid director and small staff organize and train over 200 volunteers a year.

This page originally appeared in the April 4, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at