Melissa Morgan Nelson

I have always been an animal lover. Their unconditional love and unwavering loyalty have consistently provided comfort, companionship, and joy throughout my life.  So, in 2011, when both my beloved dogs passed away within months of each another, I knew it was time to open my heart and home to another four-legged friend.

Like many people, I turned to the internet in search of a new furry family member, and it was there that I stumbled upon a photo that would alter the course of my life. It was a picture of a dog named Mirage, a beautiful soul with a troubled past, located at Bideawee’s Westhampton location. Despite Mirage’s behavior issues and the multiple meetings required to gain her trust, I was determined to win her over.

I became a volunteer at Bideawee’s Westhampton location, eager to spend time with Mirage and help her overcome her past traumas. Day after day, I showed up, and did my best to offer Mirage the love and understanding she so desperately needed.

Despite my best efforts, Mirage never fully warmed up to my husband, and eventually, Mirage found a home that was better suited for her. And I was happy for her. Mirage brought me to Bideawee but my journey at Bideawee continued long after she found her home. In fact, my experience with her only fueled my determination to make a difference in the lives of Bideawee’s most challenging dogs.

As a lifelong historian, I was also fascinated by Bideawee’s rich history, particularly the story of its founder, Flora Kibbe. I admired Flora’s pioneering spirit, founding Bideawee at a time when women had few rights and even fewer opportunities. And I respected Flora’s decision to forge her own path in life, despite the expectations placed upon her by society.

Inspired by Bideawee’s legacy and fueled by my passion for animals, I made the decision to become a Bideawee Kibbe member. I recognize the importance of supporting organizations with a long history of making a difference and knew that my contribution would help ensure Bideawee’s continued success for generations to come.

Giving to Bideawee is about more than just supporting a worthy cause. It is about advocating for those who can’t speak for themselves, about recognizing the inherent value and dignity of every animal, and about spreading compassion and kindness in a world that often overlooked their plight.

I know that there are many worthy causes to support, but for me, there is no greater joy than knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of dogs and cats in need. And I hope that by sharing my story, more people will come to see the world through the same lens of compassion and empathy that has guided me over the course of my life.