Muncy, Pa. – One of Lycoming County’s most passionate animal lovers has died. Bonnie J. Lynn Snyder, owner of the nonprofit Bellabon’s Pet Recovery Services, died early Wednesday morning, Aug. 25.
Snyder, 64, of Muncy, had been battling cancer since March 2020. Her sister, Cindy Poust, notified her followers of her passing on her nonprofit’s Facebook page:
“It is with great sadness that we let you know Bonnie passed away early this morning. She was a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, and most importantly to her the best damn pet recoverer on this planet. She fought extremely hard to fight this horrible ~ nasty disease never giving up no matter what her body went through. As the doctors verbally told us for the past year ‘she miraculously beat all odds.’
"She is no longer suffering with pain him (sic) and is at peace with family members and friends who have gone on before her. She was so looking forward to seeing her Boo and Petey, who passed over the rainbow bridge years ago. It will be a celebration of life for Bonnie at a later date ~ We’ll make sure you were all made aware when details are finalized. Thank (sic) I love you for your thoughts, prayers, love, support, and generosity.”
Snyder, who had three dogs of her own, had been running her animal rescue service since 2012. The nonprofit ran solely on donations.
Snyder led a simple life, dedicating much of her time and energy to animals until cancer slowed her down earlier this year. Even while she was sick, she would still try to answer messages or phone calls from her bedside if she was able.
"She considered pet recovery her greatest mission and her greatest accomplishment in life, and would work tirelessly around the clock (without pay) to find beloved animals and bring them home. She was the best friend that lost dogs ever had," according to her obituary published on Thursday.
One of Snyder's more recent rescues was in March when she helped locate a dog in Williamsport who escaped from his fenced in yard. Owner Kristina Kurelja Pavlick said she called Snyder about her dog Hank, and was told she was not able to come out at that time. Snyder then proceeded to ask Pavlick detailed questions about the situation, the dog, last points of contact, etc. Snyder made recommendations to Pavlick and stayed on the phone with her as she continued to search for Hank, "providing guidance at every turn."
"Sure enough, within 20 minutes of being on the phone with her I caught sight of my dog Hank and together we cried tears of joy," Pavlick said. "Once my dog and I were both safe in the car, Bonnie proceeded to share with me that she just received bad news about her battle with cancer. My phone call had interrupted her own grief about the news, and called her back to her commitment to helping people and their pets. I was so grateful to her, and her selflessness in that moment," Pavlick said.
"She asked for me to send that picture, just so she could see our faces and smiles," Pavlick said. She is truly an angel, and I was saddened to see her loss."
Snyder also assisted many pet owners from outside of northcentral Pennsylvania who lost their pets when traveling through the area. Todd Sailer, who lives outside of Philadelphia, was in Waterville early in 2018 training for a 100-mile race when he lost Bode, his Australian Shepherd dog.
The dog often ran with him, Sailer said. One morning, Bode took off while Sailer's girlfriend at the time was letting him outside to go to the bathroom. Sailer was not able to locate Bode before he had to get back home to work. Desperate to get his dog back, Sailer found Bellabon's through Facebook and contacted Snyder. "I called Bonnie and she was just a blessing," Sailer said.
Snyder got to work posting flyers and tracking Bode's movement. Several days later, she called Sailer very excited that Bode had been spotted at a campsite. Sailer got into his car and began driving back to Waterville. As he was approaching Bloomsburg, Snyder called back with more exciting news: Bode had been captured after being gone for 11 days.
"She was as happy as I was to get him back," Sailer said. He described Snyder as a person who "wore her heart on her sleeve," and noted that she did not take any pay for the work she did. She had told him that there were dogs she was tracking that had been lost for close to a year. "She was never going to give up," Sailer said.
One of Snyder's most widely publicized rescue missions occurred in June 2019 when she was called to assist with rescuing cats from a condemned and dangerous apartment building in Jersey Shore.
A back wall of the structure at the 400 block of Main Street had fallen apart, and tenants only had a short time to immediately vacate the building with their belongings. Unfortunately, some cats were left behind. A fence went up around the structure while the property owners waited for a demolition company to raze it.
Snyder and her team stayed outside the fence and tracked the cats' movements using cameras. She and her team also set food stations outside the fence to help lure cats out of the building. At the time, Snyder was recovering from a broken sternum and fractured leg as a result of a car accident.
"My main goal is to help the cats," Snyder said in an interview at the time.
Though it took her some time, Snyder was eventually able to save some of the cats from the structure.
"Bonnie fought a long, hard, determined battle with cancer and asks people to 'hug their family members and pets, as well as enjoy each day, not taking one day for granted,'" her obituary read.
The Bellabon's nonprofit closed at the time of Snyder's passing. Her family is asking donations be made in Snyder's memory to Rehome Animal Rescue, Inc., 504 River Street, Buchanan, MI 49107 or via PayPal at GorgeousAdoptions@gmail.com.