Service Trip 2024: Day 3 - Malvern & Pine Bluff - Last Hope K9 Rescue
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Service Trip 2024: Day 3 – Malvern & Pine Bluff

Service Trip 2024: Day 3 – Malvern & Pine Bluff

Day 3: Malvern

Post coming soon!


Day 3: Pine Bluff

By Alexandra Bach-Weidmuller


You would think, visiting Pine Bluff for the third time, that I’d be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster this shelter always takes me on. It was awesome to see how many things have been improved since my first visit in 2017. The back building is now very well-lit, and this year the building received new AC units, making the dogs and volunteers much more comfortable. Amazingly, Pine Bluff now has a dog walking team, so dogs get walked and loved on most days. What was also new to me is that they strive to become a no-kill shelter by 2025.

It was great to see Janie Smith and her team again. They continue to impress me with their efficiency and professionalism. It was also great to see the many Southern volunteers who support us during the service trip every year. Like last year, the lunch was incredible, and we were very well-fed.

The Northern shelter leads, Krystal and Amy, kept us in line and directed us well. Efficiently, they broke us up into different groups from kennel cleaning, dog walking, and dog bathing to painting and gardening. Dogs were heartworm (HW) and temperament tested. So much needed to be done, and the rain did not deter us. The day was busy, and it felt like we achieved a lot.

Several of us, me included, went to work cleaning the kennels in the back building. We fell into an easy rhythm of taking dogs out, scooping poop, dry cleaning, spraying, bleaching, rinsing, drying, and then repeating it all again. It was also always fun to play with the puppies in the puppy pen.

So, why was this such a rough day for me? Three out of three dogs I walked in the afternoon tested positive for HW.  I understand that HW is not necessarily a death sentence. I have seen many dogs go through HW treatment in my ten years with Last Hope. But mix HW with temperament issues and the odds become less favorable.

Let me introduce you to Edith.  She is a Lab mix. Not being a pit bull – they can only be saved in this area by rescue organizations – you would think she’d have a good chance of leaving the shelter. However, Edith is a black Lab mix. Black dogs have a much harder time getting adopted. They do not photograph well and do not get noticed on rescue websites. Strike 1… Unfortunately, Edith’s HW test showed a positive result even before the control band had a chance to appear. Strike 2… To make matters worse, Edith does not seem to be good with other dogs or cats. Strike 3…

When I walked her back to her newly cleaned kennel she seemed very stressed, and as soon as she was inside, she had diarrhea. I kept pondering all day whether I added to the stressful situation and influenced her failing the temperament test. Edith was the gentlest dog taking treats from my hand. When I left, her paw kept reaching through the kennel door seemingly asking me to stay.

At the end of the day the sky opened. The drive home took place during a torrential downpour and mirrored the mood and mixed emotions in our car.

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