01 May Service Trip 2023: Day 4 Pine Bluff
Pine Bluff Animal Control
By: Jake Becker
I’m supposed to tell you about my 2023 service trip to Arkansas, specifically Pine Bluff. I could tell you about the projects I completed, how many dogs that were washed and loved, how many kennels were cleaned. I could tell you about Janie Smith and Cathy Turner’s 10 years of service. Instead, I’ll tell you this…
This is Honey. Honey is a bully breed and in Arkansas, that alone is as close to a death sentence as one can get. To make matters worse for Honey, Honey is located in the Pine Bluff Animal Shelter where pit bulls can only be saved by rescue. As if that weren’t enough, Last Hope and our southern partner Rescue Road are on heavy restrictions on who we can pull from shelters due to low numbers of adopters AND fosters who can let “pibbles” into their homes because of landlord and insurance restrictions. This is Honey. (Have you figured out yet that by reading this, you will not forget her name?)
Unfortunately, this is not at all surprising to me after multiple service trips and I have sadly accepted Honey’s fate. And yet, I cannot stop thinking about Honey. A scared, young, sweet girl who could have her whole life ahead of her. I’ll be honest, I have cried thinking about Honey and I’ll probably cry again. BUT it’s not about me, this is about Honey. I met Honey for all of 2 minutes and Honey left a lasting impression on me. In those 2 minutes, Honey (without truly knowing me or my character) gave me her shoulder for pets and kissed my hands, all while her terrified eyes scanned me and the rest of our group. If I didn’t know any better, Honey knew her fate too.
Honey’s and every other shelter pit bulls’ stories don’t have to be this way. Pine Bluff Animal Shelter, Last Hope K9 and Rescue Road are not the problem but they are only tiny, miniscule parts of the solution. Over-crowded shelters, backyard breeding, breed-specific laws and insurance restrictions are to blame. Fear of the breed (“pit bull” isn’t actually a breed anyways) is to blame. I don’t have the solutions, but I have the fight as do my fellow foster moms and dads. We need fosters now more than ever. Do you have a little fight in you? Her name is Honey.