anthea-duronAnthea Duron is the sole provider of the funds involved in establishing North Florida Animal Rescue and the Anthea Duron Adoption Center. When asked, “Why are you giving this precious gift to our community?” she replied, “I want people to get involved in the rescuing of animals….it is the one reason I exist.”

Ms. Duron has shared her life with many cats and has a life-long love of animals. She spent most of her professional career as a travel writer and editor. Ms. Duron was born in New Jersey, her mother was born in New York and her father was a native of Spain. In the 1920’s her family moved to Central America. She spent most of her life traveling throughout the world witnessing varied cultures and diverse habitats. Ms. Duron learned as a young child the beauty and excitement of being outdoors and walking the forests with her grandparents. It was then that she has made a life-long connection with nature and the environment. Anthea Duron has been a constant supporter of many charities such as; the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, Easter Seals, PETA, University of Florida Foundation, IFAW, American Anti-Vivisection Society, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and Habitat for Humanity, just to list a few of the many charities Ms. Duron continues to support.

The golden key to happiness

Charity has been a Duron family tradition. Ms. Duron recalls, “Throughout my childhood, my parents and other family members took special delight in acquainting me with my family heritage, replete with colorful history and traditions. Among our traditions was one called the golden key to happiness. I still remember at the age of 5 being delighted to discover that a tiny, golden key, dangling alluringly from a bright crimson ribbon, would be mine to wear each time I accomplished a charitable endeavor. Moreover, when performing any act of charity, I was to be mindful that the act of giving is a special privilege…not an inescapable, lackluster duty.”

The Legacy of a Songbird

Ms. Duron’s resolve to support and protect animals was shaped by a single incident aboard a Pacific & Orient cruise ship in the early 1970s.

“We had just reached open sea when I noticed a number of songbirds … they had obviously forgotten to disembark while land was still in sight. Still, I thought ‘they’ll be safe’ … until I realized the dreadful fate that awaited them.

Three children decided to chase and catch the birds … hitting them with sticks and even pulling their wings off. Their parents did nothing. The ship’s officers instructed their stewards to catch the birds, and put them somewhere safe. One particular bird had sought shelter behind a grand piano. I said to my room steward, “If you catch it for me, I’ll put it in my state room.” And there it stayed for several days.

When the day arrived to release the bird, a crowd gathered on deck. As it landed safely on a palm tree, a wonderful cheer went up. We had at least saved one creature. Since then, I have wanted to help animals in whatever small way I can.

I think it’s so good to alert people to this opportunity they have in life … to see that the right things are done.”

After some absence in the community, the Health Center is now operational again with limited animal adoptions. Providing low cost services to the community is our goal. In the near future we hope to follow Ms. Duron’s dream of saving at-risk shelter animals.