Officer Locke began his thirty-year-long career in animal control in Lewisville, TX. Since then, he's witnessed a lot of change and progress, much of that certainly due to the continuous efforts of shelter workers and employees just like him. Of course, there's only one Frank Locke; he's a bit of a cowboy and a complete character.
Taking the time to perform duties as a pastor during the years of 2002 to 2012, Locke's journey also led him to compassionately serving the needs of animals and their people within many Texan communities as well as in Warren County, TN. Before social media and wide usage of the internet, Frank determined educational outreach was vital in preaching his message, so he started reading books like "Hank the Cow Dog" to kids at the Krum Public Library.
"I would put a red bandana on my border collie Sugar, and we'd go read to the children at the library. That was years ago, but some of those kids still write me today, and I got to tell you: It just feels great."
In Sunnyvale, TX, where Locke currently is a "one man operation" at the Sunnyvale Animal Shelter, he's got nine kennels. That might not sound like a lot, but when those spots are full, Locke has to get creative in order to draw attention to the low-traffic, little facility that is easily missed nestled behind another government building.
"When I get an animal in, that animal immediately goes right up on Facebook. We've had a lot of success with social media, but we still have to think of ways to bring people into the shelter."
Sunnyvale donors pulled together, and Locke started taking dogs to special events, networked with other shelters, and implemented a volunteer program he credits to the voice of one young lady who was determined to help.
"It's important to listen to the people within the community, and she worked very hard to make that happen."
He says he was attracted to Sunnyvale because the town expressed the desire to be progressive in its approach to adoptions and exposure. Although he says the people of Sunnyvale are a generous group and kind in their support, Locke looks for ways to do things that are above and beyond what is simply required. Noting the differences between each animal's needs, he has gone as far as to work with a volunteer trainer to increase adoptability of one dog named Lucy - a dog close to his heart who's been at Sunnyvale since last October:
"She was mostly feral when I got her, but the trainer has shown me how to get Lucy to respond. She just needs someone who will be willing to give her five minutes to get to know people first before judging who she really is. That's all."