Service Trip 2024: Day 1 - Camden & Monticello - Last Hope K9 Rescue
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Service Trip 2024: Day 1 – Camden & Monticello

Service Trip 2024: Day 1 – Camden & Monticello

Day 1: Camden

By Krystal Duquette


It was the first day of the service trip and a large group of northern and southern volunteers met at the Ouachita County Animal Protection Services in Camden, Arkansas with smiling faces eager to get to work! This is a rural location with approximately 55 kennels, some of which are entirely outdoors, and others in a covered outdoor shelter – picture a cinderblock structure with a roof and chain link gates on both ends without heating or air conditioning. Some kennels held two or more dogs, a couple of which were mommas and their tiny babies – totaling 70+ dogs. The shelter is always completely full and is run by a small number of caring employees and volunteers from H&P Animal Alliance.

After unloading supplies, some volunteers took the dogs for walks, while others scrubbed and sanitized their kennels, dog houses, dog beds, and water and food bowls. With funds raised, we were able to purchase new shades for some of the outdoor kennels to protect the dogs from the sun and the elements. We also repaired some of the existing kennel shades that were recently damaged in a storm. Speaking of storms, it down-poured multiple times today. This shelter regularly has drainage and flooding issues which present many challenges for the dogs and the staff and volunteers that care for them. Despite the rain, everyone kept their spirits high and kept the dogs as dry and happy as they could.

H&P Animal Alliance is able to send 2-3 dogs per month to Last Hope K9 Rescue. This is such a small percentage of the dogs living at the shelter, largely because they lack foster homes willing to take in dogs long enough for them to get clearance to head to New England. To that end, there is also a shortage of fosters in Massachusetts which can cause delays for dogs scheduled to transport and results in fewer dogs being sent north altogether.

There are some key cultural differences between the north and the south. In Arkansas, dogs are generally thought of as property and sometimes even a nuisance. Loose dogs on the road are a frequent occurrence and are commonly hit and left or just ignored. This mindset, along with the lack of spay/neuter laws exacerbate the overpopulation of dogs in southern states. In New England, most people consider their dogs to be family, will line up to adopt a dog hours before an adoption event even starts, and loose dogs immediately have entire teams of people trying to get them back home.

Our first shelter day was not only productive, but also informative and eye-opening to the challenges and importance of dog rescue. I think I can speak for all of us in that we left feeling incredibly grateful for all northern and southern fosters, volunteers, donors, and supporters that have made this trip possible, and for the dogs we met and who kept a piece of our heart when we left.



Day 1: Monticello

By Beth Garreau


Hi there. My name is Beth Garreau. I’ve been a foster and volunteer along with my family since 2017. We have two LHK9 pups (who are probably sleeping on the couch as I write this). This is my third service trip.

Today a group of us went to Monticello Animal Shelter. I had never been there myself; others with me helped move the previously existing shelter to the new building we were at today. Having been to some of our more rural partner shelters, I was glad to see that there was a building. And yet, I had forgotten the smell of doing shelter work from last year‘s trip.

We spent the day walking and bathing all of the dogs, cleaning every kennel, scrubbing and painting a spare room from top to bottom to prepare for a medical room, building kennels for the medical room, and just as important building relationships with the shelter staff.

For me, the highlight of the trip was meeting Mama and her 10 brand new puppies. I don’t know if she has a name, but because I spent the whole day telling her what a good mama she was, I’ve decided it should stick. Mama nestled her dogs all day, and on the few walks I offered (what mom doesn’t deserve a break), she was straining to run back into the shelter and see her kids.

I don’t know her story. Some of the shelter volunteers commented that most of the dogs in the shelter today probably were used to breed puppies, and the southern shelter lead Amy told us that the community is known for hoarding and dog fighting cruelty cases. In some ways, it’s a relief to know that  and her puppies are in rescue and safe. But it nearly broke my heart to drive away,  knowing that there was a mama who was just trying to protect her puppies, and knowing the risks that those puppies have staying at the shelter. Parvo is a devastating disease that can kill puppies and can be spread through a litter quickly. The medical room we created and the kennels we put together will give Monticello the ability to help dogs in medical need, and also take quick action such as quarantining a sick dog when deadly things come up. The donations we have received and continue to receive allow our southern shelters the biggest chance at saving dogs lives. And the work Last Hope does up north gives each dog we transport their chance at happily furever after.

At the end of the day, we drive away knowing those kennels will just need another cleaning tomorrow. It can make you feel a little hopeless… and yet, we know for one day they were clean. We did the walls, the bowls, the dogs. So they’ll stay clean for a bit. Maybe the shelter volunteers can take a week off.  They know we support them, even when afar. The medical room will allow for dogs to become healthy even when we aren’t there. And I hope to see Mama one day soon.

1 Comment
  • Pam Gillispie
    Posted at 05:50h, 04 May Reply

    Y you are all doing good work and making the lives of those dogs in shelter just a little bit better. Thank you for your giving hearts and the strength of your commitment to the dogs. You are our hands, hearts and spirit.

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