A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Joann Payne

A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Joann Payne

I believe that we all leave a legacy. Whether it’s little, or large we all leave something behind. Personally, I want to be remembered as an honest reporter, a caring person, and a diligent student. However, sometimes we do not get to determine what we leave behind.

In 2011, the idea for Lucky’s Legacy was sparked by Lucky, president Mike William’s cat. While volunteering with her son, vice president Joann Payne met Williams and discovered they both shared a passion for animals.

“Lucky’s Legacy was born in two different ways. My co-owners name is Mike Williams and when his cat passed away, he wanted to do more to live up to his cat’s name and to honor his cat. So he started volunteering and doing more for the animals," Payne said. "My son joined Junior ROTC in high school and needed volunteer hours, so I started volunteering with my son and met with Mike. Since we both have a passion for animals, and it blossomed from there.".

Unlike most traditional animal shelters, Lucky’s Legacy accepts any and all surrendered animals.

“We do dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, bunnies, snakes, hamsters, fish, I mean you name it, it doesn’t matter what type of animal it is. We actually had a guinea pig be surrendered by a family who could no longer take care of it and we found it a new home,” Payne said. “We actually nursed a squirrel for a few days before we could get it to a vet. Whatever we get a call about, we’re going to help.”

Payne and Williams share similar objectives with non-profit organizations in the area, but they take their passion one step further.

“It’s the main objective to save as many animals as we can. It’s to keep families together. If there’s a way to keep a family together whether it is to help them with food or otherwise, we're going to do it. We’ve even neutered a cat for free so that it could stay with its family,” Payne said.

“We’ve puppy sat. We’ve had instances where people were hospitalized, so we watched their dog for a month and a half. We had an instance where a lady went through a horrible divorce and got kicked out of her situation and we watched her dog for five months.”

There are many non-profit organizations aimed towards saving animals, but Lucky’s Legacy is run strictly through volunteers.

“We care. We are no kill. We do follow-ups like there’s no tomorrow. It is a job, but it’s a passion. Nobody gets paid at our facility. Nobody gets a paycheck. We are 100% ran by volunteers. My co-owner works three jobs to pay the bills and to do the vetting. It’s all run out of passion,” Payne said. “All of our animals are 100% vetted, spade and neutered, shots and dogs are microchipped.”

While Lucky’s Legacy does not provide a paycheck, it does fulfill a passion.

“I love animals, I’ve always loved animals. I grew up on a farm. I’ve always had any type of animal you could think of, and I’ve always wanted to do something with them. Whether it was with animals or with children, and with this I feel like I get to do both. We have little kids that come in all the time just to pet the animals and their eyes light up and it’s just great,” Payne said.

Lucky’s Legacy offered strays a chance at a new life, but the biggest service they offered was their passion.

“I would say just our passion. I mean, who works 100 hours a week without a paycheck? Who works three jobs to pay for the facility? Williams works three jobs plus works at the center so four jobs and one of them he doesn’t get a paycheck for,” Payne said.