Day 2: Service Trip 2019 - Last Hope K9 Rescue
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Day 2: Service Trip 2019

Day 2: Service Trip 2019

West Memphis Shelter

By: Maura Tutty

Senior Coordinator & Foster

Today started at transport, where our southern foster partners put their foster pups and part of their hearts on the bus headed to Boston. It’s so awe-inspiring to watch them confidently put their fosters on the bus sending them closer to their forever families.

Next, we traveled two hours east to visit our friends at the West Memphis Animal Shelter. When we travel to a shelter, there is always a level of excitement and anticipation. Today was no different. On a personal level, this was where my recent “foster fail”, Stanley, spent three months before getting his shelter break. And for anyone that follows their Instagram page (if you don’t, you should – @westmemphisanimalshelter), you all are familiar with Trent and Kerry and their fun and creative videos and posts. We were all really pumped to see them in person!

As we walked out back to meet them, that same energy from their posts was palpable – you could feel the love for the dogs immediately. The entire facility was clean and well- kept. They were even making treat-filled kongs for the dogs!

The team spent the day bathing the dogs, painting part of the outside of the main building, and providing some shade for one of the outdoor runs. We finished off the day with some of the team participating in a signature Trent video that highlighted a particular dog -in this case it was sweet Bee Gee.

As we were leaving today, we also got the very special honor of giving EIGHT pups their shelter breaks and delivering them to their new fosters. It was the perfect end to a really positive day.

Kensett Animal Shelter

By: Lindsay LaRocca

Board Member & Coordinator

It’s been a whirlwind 7 years of volunteering with LHK9 Rescue. This 2019 trip marks my 5th time to Arkansas and 4th service trip. I’ve been fortunate to meet angels on earth, our southern fosters & volunteers. They put in hours upon hours of demanding work taking care of all the pups and trying to help keep the shelters in shape, a true labor of love.

When we visit the same shelter year after year, we get to see substantial progress, and it makes my heart happy to physically see the impact that we have as a whole. This is one of the reasons I get so excited to visit a new shelter, because I know we’ll have a lasting impact over the next few years. When I heard I was on the schedule to work at Kensett, I was elated!!

Kensett, Arkansas is home to 1,600 people and their animal shelter is located at the city’s water treatment facility. Like many rural shelters, Kensett’s is no different. It is tucked away down a dirt path, surrounded by water. Not necessarily the easiest or best spot for folks to meet adoptable dogs.

When I arrived at the shelter, I was greeted by 5 faces demanding immediate attention. Rooster the hound mix, Addy the pit mix, Wayland the purebred Rottweiler, Hank the boxer mix and Shakespeare the cattle dog mix.

To give a little perspective, Hank was surrendered by a waste management worker. So now, every day when this man drives to work, he passes his dog sitting in an outdoor kennel, which is actually more than he ever had before.

To give a little perspective, Hank was surrendered by a waste management worker. So now, every day when this man drives to work, he passes his dog sitting in an outdoor kennel, which is actually more than he ever had before.

Emotionally, it was hard day; learning Hank’s story, watching little Rooster, shake his tick-filled ears, setting eyes on Shakespeare a timid pup, who has been there for 8 months with no potential adopters, and realizing that Addy has zero chance of getting Heartworm treatment unless we can pull her from the shelter after we find a foster.

It was a tough day, physically, trying to figure out how to make this tiny outdoor shelter, safer and cleaner. With recent Parvo outbreaks, cleaning was our number one priority!

I’m so thankful for the team of people that worked at Kensett. Brandon, the ACO, was so thankful for our help and Lori, our shelter liaison couldn’t have given us more thankful squeezes. We may not have accomplished everything we wanted, but we gave them a pretty awesome fresh start! It’s amazing want a clean environment and fresh coat of paint can do to lift everyone’s spirits!

Nikki and I both run dog businesses and have extensive knowledge on proper cleaning protocols so we showed the ACO how to clean and spray the entire area with a bleach solution to hopefully keep disease at bay.

Other projects for the day included insulating the supply room, hanging shelving, painting the inside and outside, building 5 insulated dog houses, walking & bathing the pups, Heartworm resting two of the crew, building a bakers rack and organizing brand new supplies!

I left the shelter with a small sunburn, paint splattered boots, fiberglass in my hair, a very full heart and a longing to do more. Kensett, we’ll be back for you next year!

Pine Bluff Group 1

By: Nicholina Gioiosa


This year at Pine Bluff, we didn’t go all together as a group like we have in the past; instead we separated into groups over two days! Projects that were planned for Friday at Pine Bluff were: installing acoustic panels so the barking doesn’t reverberate off the walls increasing the stress and contagious barking of all the others dogs, building outdoor benches, washing towels and organizing the laundry room, cleaning the cat room, deep cleaning and sanitizing the dog kennels, bathing the dogs, and of course holding the puppies that aren’t allowed to touch the ground because they haven’t received all their shots.

This is my second service trip and my second time going to Pine Bluff, so I knew what I was walking into that day for my assigned duties: roughly a hundred dogs in kennels that would all need baths while their kennels were being cleaned and acoustic panels were being installed. However, nothing could prepare me for the emotional turmoil I felt that day.

The second dog I took out of the kennel was a 12 week old puppy that I named Mooshoo; you could tell that this little nugget was underweight and that something was off about her, but I assumed that she just was underweight at intake. As I was heading over to the bath station, I noticed yellowish-green mucous dripping from her nose. I checked in with the medical team who did an evaluation of her. They noticed she had discolored teeth and her gums were almost white. I immediately knew that white gums meant dehydration and/or not enough oxygen flow. What the medical team told me that I didn’t know was that these were all signs of distemper – an extremely contagious and likely fatal disease. At that point I thought that we would be able to get Mooshoo the right medicine that would treat her, but boy was I wrong. The disease progressed too far. Then came the dreadful words that I never want to hear: she’ll need to be euthanized. My heart immediately broke for her. I held that puppy in my arms for over two hours, showering her with love and my tears, which would be the rest of her short life. Mooshoo may not have known love for the first 12 weeks of her life, but I would be damned if I didn’t give her all the love, care, and hugs and kisses that she deserved for those few hours.

Mooshoo’s story is one that happens all too often at shelters throughout Arkansas (and in many other states). Contagious and fatal diseases like distemper can be 100% preventable with proper vaccinations. Mooshoo’s death could have been prevented. Mooshoo could be living her best life right now. But no, somewhere out there some person decided to be careless and not spay their dog. That same careless person decided it was not important to vaccinate those puppies that came from that momma dog. Carelessness results in death. Care for and love your dogs: get them spayed/neutered, vaccinate them and for the love of all things adopt don’t shop!

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