Christopher Vane co-founded Little Bear Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal sanctuary in Punta Gorda, FL, in honor of his late mother Ursula (which translates to “little bear” in Latin). They shared a common passion for animals and Ursula often dreamed of providing neglected animals a safe haven.
While originally from New York, Chris surprisingly started off with a career in human healthcare, eventually landing in Florida working in real estate. When he met Randy, everything changed…for the better, that is! Their relationship sparked a new passion to live each day with purpose. After they got married, their desire to provide a better world for animals was greatly amplified.
Together, Chris and Randy followed through on Ursula’s dream and established the Little Bear Sanctuary in 2017. Now, 200+ rescued animals call Little Bear Sanctuary home, and – thanks to Christopher’s compassion and dedication – each animal has been given an opportunity to experience love and freedom.
Randy Sellers, a Florida Plant City native, has been involved in the trucking and auto industry for the past 32 years. While his current day job as a service advisor for a luxury car brand keeps him busy during the week, his off-the-clock hours are spent taking care of animals. From feeding, cleaning, and administering medication to mending a fence or structure, there’s nothing Randy doesn’t have a hand in.
Randy’s love for animals grew exponentially after meeting Christopher Vane. Initially, they bonded over a shared vision to create a better world for farm animals. And that bond has only grown over time, leading Randy and Chris to marriage and co-founding Little Bear Sanctuary together. Now, as Director of Operations of Little Bear Sanctuary, Randy is the go-to person for building, maintenance, transport, and anything mechanical. Although if you ask him, pig belly rubs are always the priority.
Dr. Phillip Shaw graduated from St George’s University College of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada. Before receiving his veterinary training, he was raised in Mt. Dora, Florida, working in a mixed animal practice since he was 15. His passion for animal medicine grew at the University of Florida, where he received his bachelor’s in Animals Sciences. (Go Gators!)
After graduation, he furthered his skills in Eastern Veterinary Medicine, becoming a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist from the Chi Institute to help give alternative therapies to his patients. For seven years, he practiced in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Shaw served as Chief of Staff for three years in a multi-doctor practice. He pursued further training in advanced surgical techniques, including fracture management/repair, stabilization of the canine knee after ACL rupture, abdominal ultrasound, and dentistry.
With his wife Caryn, daughter Harper and son Leo, they moved to Southwest Florida to realize their dream of opening their veterinary practice, Choice Veterinary Services.
A Florida native brings 30+ years of veterinary technician experience to Little Bear Sanctuary. She’s worked with small animals, including exotic, avian, and other wildlife. Kelly has also logged hours with the Peace River Wildlife Center, raising and rescuing pigs, and is on animal control’s shortlist of people they ring for help in crisis situations. Thanks to her drive and compassion to help animals in need, Kelly has rehabbed a number of small critters from her own home (i.e., possums, raccoons, rabbits, and squirrels).
Admittedly, working at Little Bear Sanctuary is a dream come true for Kelly. And with the full support of her husband and two daughters, she’s able to work with the sanctuary animals on a daily basis and assist with around-the-clock rescue endeavors – a mission that drives her soul and truly captures her life’s meaning.