Animal Hero of the Month: Mary Ellen Tidwell

A rescue is making a big difference for animals in a high-kill county in Alabama, and we’re honoring the hard work of its president, Mary Ellen Tidwell.


The April 2014 winner of our Animal Hero of the Month award is Mary Ellen Tidwell of Crossing Paths Animal Rescue in Locust Fork, Alabama.

Mary Ellen formed Crossing Paths in 2006 and works tirelessly at her rescue in Alabama— and it’s well needed. Many area animal facilities are high-kill facilities, which means the animals have about seven days before they are euthanized. Through donations and treasured foster parents, Crossing Paths Animal Rescue saves as many animals as it can pull.

The animals stay at the rescue’s kennels or with foster parents while they are assessed, receive veterinary care, get spayed or neutered, and ready for adoption.

The Nomination

Mike Irving submitted this nomination for Mary:

Mary Ellen has been running Crossing Paths Animal Rescue for several years, doing her best to control the stray animals down here in Alabama, and the problem is huge. I have been a foster for Crossing Paths for the last couple of years and have seen firsthand the amount of lives saved through her efforts. She rescues abandoned pets, pulls them from high-kill shelters and anywhere a pet needs their life saved in North Alabama — she is there to rescue it.

Once they are rescued, they are given all necessary medical treatments and vaccinations and put up for adoption on various sites. We send out a transport truck every couple of weeks with as many as 75 dogs every time to our sister site in Pennsylvania (run by Patricia Liddie) where the dogs are united with their new families and taken to their forever homes. Last year alone, she united close to 1,000 pets with wonderful adopters.


Here’s what all of our Animal Hero of the Month award winners get:

Winners will receive the Animal Hero of the Month medal and a $50 cash prize.

  • A feature article like this one
  • Social media mentions across all of our platforms
  • A permanent spot on the list of winners
  • Our custom, engraved gold-tone paw print medal with ribbon shipped to the winner
  • $50 cash award

About Mary Ellen’s Organization

Animals that are not adopted locally through adoption events or direct inquiries are considered for transport to the rescue’s satellite location in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Every two to three weeks adoptable dogs are sent to the northeast where demand is much higher.

The dogs are adopted out throughout Pennsylvania and the surrounding states, so these animals have another chance to find a permanent home. Adoption events are also held in the northeast in addition to direct adoption inquiries.

The transport shuttle gets more dogs to more homes. By: xpar/Facebook
The transport shuttle gets more dogs to more homes. By: xpar/Facebook

The rescue is also a part of a project to change the entire Blount County in Alabama into a no-kill county for animals. The No Kill Blount County, Alabama Facebook page helps promote adoption, fostering, spay and neuter for dogs and cats through the “Fix Your Mama” campaign and fights to keep spay/neuter clinics open in the area.

The adoptive parents of Crossing Paths pets feel deeply connected to the rescue and regularly send updates about their new family members. Updates and compliments line the pages of the website, and you can view the most recent year’s dog tales here. Adoptive parent to Shea (formerly Ivan), Brian wrote, “Thanks for all you continue to do on a daily basis for these dogs and the many families whose lives have forever been changed by them.”

Barbara, new mom to pooch Ellis, wrote, “Thank you for everything. I sent Terri an email already and hope to keep in touch with both of you, if that’s ok. If there is ever anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask. We will spread the word about the kindness and professionalism of your organization. Hopefully, we can encourage someone to utilize your services when looking for a new family member.”

About the hard work of the rescue, Mary Ellen wrote:

“We undertook this task with the knowledge that we could not help or save every animal we encountered. There have been great heartaches already, but with the hope and faith that caring people will step forth and aid us in this battle, we are sure we will be able to save many more.”

While the paths of these animals may cross from the south to the northeast, it is a lifeline necessary for their survival. Mary Ellen, her donors, volunteers and satellite personnel in Pennsylvania make this possible, and we’re honoring her today for fulfilling such an important role in animal rescue.

If you would like to help Crossing Paths Animal Rescue, they are in need of volunteers, foster parents and donations of funds or supplies. Visit their Help Us Help Them page for details. To view the pets the rescue currently has up for adoption, visit here. If you are interested in learning more about a particular pet or requesting an adoption, there is an adoption application that can be filled out on their website.

Q&A With Mary Ellen Tidwell

Mary Ellen, what got you started helping animals?

The need of so many dying with no chance at all if not for people stepping up. How can I complain if I don’t do something to make a difference?

How old were you when you got your first animal?

We didn’t have animals; we couldn’t afford them.

What is your favorite animal?


Tell us about the one animal you will never forget.

Trouble was a dog that was given to me, and he traveled with me when I was on the road. He lived to be 20 years old and was just one awesome dog — but so have all the dogs I’ve owned. I will never forget any of them, and all of them were special.

What are the least and highest amounts of pets you have had at one time?


If your pets could talk, what would they say?

They were happy, well loved and felt wanted.

If you could solve one problem facing animals, what would it be?

That all of them would have a loving home, and there would be no more homeless pets.

If you could be reincarnated as any animal, which would you choose and why?

A dog because of the unconditional love they give and never expect anything more than you are willing to give.

If the rainbow bridge exists, which pet would you most like to see waiting for you on the other side?

All of them — it wouldn’t be complete without all my special friends to share.

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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