Rosie Ellis is shelter founder as well as its Executive Director. From the very first kitten she rescued, she put her heart and soul into rescue. As an industry peer recently said, “Rosie was rescuing before ‘rescue’ was even a thing."
She has such an incredible connection with animals and never seems to tire or grow weary of working on their behalf. Even to this day, although she has likely been part of rescuing tens of thousands of at-risk dogs and cats, she can’t share a story about animals at the shelter without coming to tears.
“I’ve known Rosie for many years. Over those years I’ve seen her put her heart and soul into saving pets’ lives. She is an amazing person and she has a personal connection with each pet who’s come through her life. She’s always amazed me how she remembers the pets she’s helped. She’s improved the quality of not only pets’ lives but the lives of the families they become part of.”
– Patsy Campbell
She has always been and continues to be an active member of the rescue and shelter community and works collaboratively with other leaders to reduce the suffering and pain of Indianapolis’ at-risk dog and cat community. Rosie received the Channel 6 Leadership Award for the work she’s done with companion animals, in 2009, Southside Animal Shelter received the Belle Award from WFYI, Planet Soul and Puddlejump Pictures and continues to receive local recognition for her work on behalf of Indianapolis’ animal population.
“Rosie and the staff and volunteers at Southside have the animals in their care as their FIRST priority ALWAYS!! Anyone that knows Rosie has the highest regard for her.”
– Janice Cooper Davis
Although Rosie has never taken a salary and has often donated her own money as well as her time, some years it has been difficult to make ends meet. Somehow though, as Rosie says “we always find a way and something always comes through… often at just the right time.”
In addition to Rosie, longtime staff and volunteers have been critical to Rosie's Southside’s ability to rescue, rehabilitate and place at risk dogs and cats. Ultimately though, Rosie knows it isn’t just Rosie, her staff or her volunteers that make the most difference, it is instead the entire rescue community that together are making progress and improving the lives of so many. How long will Rosie keep at it? Her answer? “..for as long as the good Lord allows me to walk.”
“Rosie Ellis is a known “angel” on the southside. No-one can say otherwise. Years ago, I found a mother dog with 5 pups in an alley hiding under a car. It was storming that day. I called her and within 20 minutes she was there collecting all the pups and the mother. She found homes for all of them. I will never forget that day.”
– Kathy Weilhammer Clements