By: Sasha Prasad
Foster & Volunteer
Camden is a city of 13,000 people in Southern Arkansas. There are two shelters within the city limits of Camden – the “city” shelter and the “country” shelter. Our group of volunteers split the day between both shelters, and my group spent the day at Camden City Shelter with the amazing ACO Jennifer Pinson. Jen has only been the ACO for one month but she’s already making a significant impact. She no longer adopts dogs out before they are spayed and neutered and has not euthanized due to lack of space, a trend she hopes to continue. So far this year, 106 of Camden City Shelters’ dogs have ended up in rescue, including H&P Animal Alliance, one of Last Hope K9 Rescue’s southern partners.
Today, the Last Hope volunteers spent 5 hours at the shelter with 25 volunteers and completed a wide range of shelter improvement projects, including:
- Bathed and groomed the dogs
- Painted the exterior of the shelter and outer kennels
- Built and installed kennel cover on an outdoor run
- Deep cleaned and organized storage areas
- Added shelving for additional storage
- Mounted baby gates for puppy pens
- Installed a gutter
- Installed Kool Kurtains
These projects were only possible due to the generous donations made to LHK9 over the last two months. It was amazing to see how much the staff and volunteers cared about the dogs at Camden City Shelter and I’m grateful that we could help make life at least a little easier for the dogs at Camden City Shelter and for the amazing people who care for them.
By: Sara Corey
Foster & Volunteer
If you were driving down the road trying to find the Hazen shelter, you would hardly believe it was a shelter at all. From first glance it just looks like a couple of small structures, perhaps attached to a water facility or something. As you pull up, you can hardly imagine it houses dogs at all. It’s certainly not your classic idea of an animal shelter.
People can come here to surrender dogs they no longer are willing (or able) to care for, or give shelter to those who have been found as strays. There’s no office, no regular staff, just a handful of dedicated people who come once a day to see them, clean their kennels and give them food and water. I have heard that at one point, it was just 6 kennels in a row without shelter from the elements . After working with rescue groups, the dogs now have roofing, cooling mats, dog houses, adequate shelter and much more to get them through their long days of waiting.
Our group arrived bright and early this morning with six dogs awaiting our arrival. Most were excited, jumping up and pressing their paws and noses through the chain link for a chance at love, affection and attention. Others nervously barked or hid at the sight of dozens of eager volunteers ready to step in to help.
There were a number of projects going on, a volunteer worked to dig a trench to create a gravel path to the lock box avoiding flooding and mud. Others worked with the dogs giving them baths and making toys for them. A fan was set up to allow the dogs to have cooler temperatures during the hot summer days.
I had such a wonderful time working with like minded people, volunteering our time to give the dogs the best that we can. It’s amazing how much this shelter evolved and continues to improve every year.
Hazen Shelter (Door-to-Door Promo of Free Spay and Neuter Clinic)
By: Amanda Cunningham
Foster & Volunteer
“Hello Hazen residents! I am Amanda and I am here to chat with you about having your dog fixed and offer you an opportunity to have the procedure performed for free!” That was supposed to be the start to many conversations I was supposed to have with one of the 1,637 people living in the 3.4 square mile town of Hazen, Arkansas.
Surprise! There were 6 dogs at the Hazen shelter today (where there was supposed to be none) after the Animal Control Officer posted to his page telling people they had a chance to surrender their dogs as there was a rescue here doing work. So the start to our “Fix your pets, reduce overpopulation so we don’t have to rescue 80 dogs from Hazen again this year” door-to-door extravaganza was put on hold for a bit. After the dogs were heartworm tested and left with the other lovely volunteers we were off!
Barry (aka Bob Barker’s #1 fan) was my partner in crime and we weren’t sure what to expect as we set out. Some homeowners peered out from their partially cracked doors or suspiciously stared at us as they drove by (don’t worry I still gave each of them a friendly wave). “What are these two doing out here on a Thursday morning?” they mused. “What are they selling? Religion? Politics? Oh jeez, worse, they are crazy people from Boston trying to get me to fix my dog!”
After 2 hours of walking in our assigned quadrant we had stopped at many houses and hung flyers on doorknobs, but only spoke with a handful people. Much to our delight many of the dog owners that we did speak with told us how their dogs were already neutered, which earned them an enthusiastic – “thank you for being part of the solution!”
Two things were really weighing heavy on our minds as we canvassed our quadrant:
1) How had NO ONE, I mean no one, mentioned the Bob Barker Price is Right t-shirt that Barry was wearing? I suggested that we weave Bob into our pitch: “We are from California and Bob Barker sent us, he is really concerned with what he has heard about dog overpopulation in Hazen”. Barry wasn’t having it though; he wanted a holistic exchange regarding his shirt. Finally as our lunch break drew near Barry’s shirt purchase finally paid for itself when a resident pointed at his shirt and said “Bob Barker, spay and neuter your pets!” Sweet vindication.
2) Why does every house in Hazen Arkansas have a “fake” door? All these houses with two, sometimes three doors, why? Where do we knock? Where do we leave the flyer? We were starting to become pros at spotting a “fake” door quickly now, we were getting into our groove.
Unfortunately our afternoon canvassing was called off due to the severe rain storms. But, we had good news! By 2:30pm the efforts of the canvasing team (Amanda, Andrea, Barry, Claudia, Laura, Lauren and Melanie) had led to 10 dogs already scheduled for surgery! 10 dogs means a potential for 670,000 less dogs roaming Hazen over the next 6 years. Wow. Quite a good outcome for this pilot program! Here’s to hoping the other 40 free surgeries get scheduled soon!