14 May Arkansas – Day 1 & Day 2
Written By: Jill Monahan
Secretary, Board of Directors
Last Hope K9 Rescue
It’s the morning of day 3 and I’m just getting around to writing our first blog post…it’s safe to say we’ve been busy!
Our first day was spent at West Memphis Animal Shelter, and if you don’t follow them on Facebook, you’re missing out! The staff and volunteers there are absolutely amazing and care so deeply for the dogs and cats that come into their care, posting entertaining photos and videos daily in hopes of finding adopters and/or rescues for them. The Animal Control Officer at WMAS told us that since Rescue Road and Last Hope K9 Rescue began pulling dogs from their shelter, their euthanasia rate has dropped from 30% to 18%, primarily (humanely) euthanizing only the extremely aggressive or sick/injured animals. It was a real breath of fresh air to meet with a city ACO who are passionate and truly care about the animals and don’t just see it as a job.
At WMAS, the RR and LHK9 volunteers worked to purge and organize a huge storage garage, bathed and walked dogs, landscaped, painted the cat room, painted equipment for a new agility course, and our trainer did some behavioral assessments. Oh, and of course we pulled and found fosters for some dogs! Hooper, Harriet, and Harper found a foster and will be coming to Boston in a few weeks, while Walton, Luther, Jarvis, Jonesey, Allie Kate, Boo Bear, and Minerva (a sweet, beautiful, mange-covered hound) are still looking for southern fosters so they can leave the shelter and come north.
Day two was spent at Pine Bluff Animal Shelter. They just built a beautiful new shelter and will be moving in any day now. But the dogs are still in the old shelter, so we made sure that they’re comfy and clean as they can be while they’re still residing there! We spent the majority of the day bathing each dog and deep cleaning, scrubbing, and sanitizing the kennels. We also put up a run in the play yard and helped install a scale in the new building. Our trainer did an assessment on a gorgeous Catahoula mix that was surrendered for being “dog aggressive”. We tested him with two submissive females and he showed absolutely no signs of aggression, so we sent him to foster along with two Beagle mix sisters. The other group went to Monticello Shelter in the morning and pulled an adorable white Pit Bull mix puppy, too!
Once we were done cleaning the main shelter, where all the dogs are adoptable, we helped in the back quarantine room. This is where it got real hard for a lot of us.
I’ve been involved in rescue for about 5 years now and have become pretty numb to most of the sad stories, but in this room we saw the dogs who’d just been dumped or just been picked up by the ACO. They were terrified. They hadn’t been bathed, were covered in ticks, fleas, scabs, or had chewed their tails raw from the stress. They didn’t have beds, they were surrounded by their own pee and feces, some even had feces in their food and water bowls. Pine Bluff has such a high intake that it would be essentially impossible for the staff to keep up without the amazing volunteers who come in to help. We bathed each of these dogs (unless they were “on hold” for legal reasons or were people aggressive), scrubbed each of their kennels and bowls, and gave 3 tiny mange-covered puppies medical baths. Every single Pit Bull in this room had a red dot on his/her paper, meaning they would be euthanized if a rescue didn’t commit to them because Pine Bluff cannot legally adopt them out due to Breed Specific Legislation. 12 of my 24 fosters have been Pit Bulls, so this fact alone was enough to completely shatter me, and this isn’t the only shelter we will visit that is forced to abide by this law so I’m sure there will be more breakdowns in my future as I fall in love with more wiggly, kissy, perfect dogs who face certain death simply because of their breed. Our volunteers gave each of these dogs as much love as we could, knowing they may very well be their last.
We did pull one gorgeous tri-color momma Pit Bull mix, who was supposed to have been euthanized the day before we got there. She was just too sweet to leave behind. Amana is heartworm positive but two of our amazing volunteers offered to split the cost of treatment (on top of paying for their own flights, and any other expense from the trip!). She goes into foster today!
Well, we just arrived at Stuttgart Animal Shelter so it’s time to get to work. Check back to hear about what we do today!