30 Apr Day 3: Service Trip 2019
Stuttgart Animal Shelter
By: Meg Ferguson
Foster & Volunteer
Today our group of 17 volunteers visited the Stuttgart Animal Shelter. This shelter is on the smaller side with 7 kennels and a puppy room. The shelter was not at capacity, however, as the shelter lead stated, they can go from “zero to hero” overnight.
One amazing woman I met on our visit was Susie. She recently retired and has now dedicated her time to helping the shelter thrive. She has solely increased the number of local adoptions and been great with getting the shelter some publicity. Susie, along with our volunteers, completed tasks today such as replacing the latches on all of the kennels, installing new doggie doors so dogs can enjoy time outside, extensive yard work, assembling and installing new shelving, washing all the dogs, create a mural on the front and side of the building, replacing sheet metal on the side of the shelter and repairing thresholds.
I was lucky enough to meet and get to know Cisco. Cisco is a 9 year old chihuahua/terrier mix who was recently surrendered to the shelter. His skin is in terrible condition and it will take some time and love to get him back to health. Despite how uncomfortable Cisco was, he still had an amazing spirit and was loving all of the attention from anyone he met. Cisco was lucky enough to find an amazing foster who will help him heal and continue his journey to MA. The fact of the matter is that many dogs are not this lucky.
It was so great to help out our southern partners in any way possible and I hope to return next year to do even more!
Bald Knob Group 1
By: Judy Boxer
Foster & Volunteer
The Bald Knob shelter is a small shelter at the end of a small road deep in the country, but it’s run by an Animal Control Officer and an assistant ACO with a big heart and a lot of energy. The local volunteers welcomed us with southern hospitality and lots of food and many thank you’s. Even the Bald Knob Chief of Police stopped by to thank us. Bald Knob was one of Last Hope’s first Arkansas shelters, and it’s come a long way with lots of help from Last Hope and Lori Privett, Last Hope’s Arkansas liaison for the shelter.
A large group of Last Hope volunteers accomplished a very ambitious list of projects. Washing dogs, installing plexiglass panels to prevent the dogs from chewing on the metal fencing, fixing gaps in the fence, installing new shelving to replace old rusted shelving, setting up a new desk and file cabinet, assembling and installing special Kuranda dog beds, heart worm testing the dogs, and LOTS of cleaning. We also installed Dig Defense, a special fence addition that keeps dogs from digging under the fence – which takes incredible strength and perseverance to install. Lastly – we held and played with lots of dogs and puppies while their kennels were cleaned and painted.
I spent most of the day with Becky Goodwin, an Arkansas foster for Last Hope, washing many very large strong dogs (and I have the scratches and sore muscles to prove it!) We had help from Devon, the ACO and other Bald Knob volunteers lifting the heavy dogs in to the tub.
It was inspiring to see a large group work so hard with so much energy and accomplish so much and make such a difference to the dogs, shelter workers and volunteers. The many generous donors that make this work possible should know what a difference they make!
And here are some adorable puppies rescued by the shelter, just because …
Coming Soon – Pine Bluff Group 2
By: Kelli Leahy
More than 60 volunteers, more than $77,000 raised, all in support of one mission: Improve the lives of Arkansas shelters dogs.
Day 3 of the 2019 LHK9 Annual Service trip brought one group of volunteers to Pine Bluff Animal Control in Pine Bluff, AR. We started our day by scrubbing and bleaching kennels and heart worm testing and vaccinating dogs. Next, after giving the dogs a quick bath, we had the opportunity to spend one-on-one outside time with the dogs showering them with love, treats and affection while they basked in the warm Arkansas sun.
Another group of volunteers (myself included!) spent the day with two southern dog behavioral experts who trained us perform behavioral evaluations. My fellow volunteers and I will bring this knowledge back north to enable us to better aid and support local shelter dogs and local owner surrenders.
While the shelter dogs are amazing, the dedicated and selfless shelter volunteers who pour their hearts and souls into their work with these babies are equally amazing. They are WONDER WOMEN!! I could talk for days about everything these incredible humans do day in and day out, but I wanted to share an example that I witnessed personally.
This little yellow lab puppy was struggling with shelter life, and after a difficult night, one of the incredible shelter leads scooped the puppy up and headed straight to the vet. Knowing the puppy could continue struggling if brought back to the shelter environment, this foster mom brought the puppy back to her home for close observation and much TLC.
Speaking of puppies…its puppy season…and oh the puppies!
The wise Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I always try to focus on the positive and heart lifting side of rescue, both the human side and the canine side, because when odds are stacked high it’s the success stories that fill my heart and keep me going. But, there are also sad realities and I think it’s important for us to acknowledge these realities. The reality is that some of the dogs we met on Saturday won’t make it out of the shelter. They will never get their freedom rides filled with promise of a new and brighter future.
And this is one of the many reasons why education and advocacy are critically important. We must speak for the voiceless and educate about the plight of shelter dogs, not just in Arkansas, but everywhere in this country and around the world. Whether you choose to work with Last Hope, another reputable organization or your local shelter, please choose to adopt. Please choose to save a life. And until then…