The past few months have been quite the ride with ups and downs, lows and highs. We've had some major setbacks but through the amazing support of our volunteers and donors we have steadily pushed forward with even more optimism towards our goal of helping the animals and in turn helping the community.
We have been working hard at making our facility the best it can be for our animals and all the people that come through its doors. This is a major feat and will never be “finished” but ARF has come such a long way in such a short time. That is all thanks to great donations and absolute wonderful volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to us for nothing more than to see a happy, furry smile. One of our outstanding volunteers has fixed up the trim around the outside of the building, helped build a handicap ramp, fixed doors, and done some amazing work in the cat rooms. It is cat heaven now with shelves all over to jump on, window fixtures for them to sun and nap in and cat trees that we wish were bigger so we could play with them! We have some of the happiest cats around now!
Spring brought lots of rain and severe weather and we are so thankful that our animals are safely sheltered. When the storms come we do not have to worry about them being out in the elements or things flooding. Half of the permanent, concrete kennels have been created and we are working at getting the rest done. There is also a very large play yard in the back that volunteers enjoy playing with the dogs in. Now that is it warmer we fill up kiddie pools and everyone plays in the water! Of course more still needs to be done, but we have come such a long way in less than a year.
In the middle of the night in May we got a call that we hope to never get again: there was a break in. People broke in, broke things, stole things and stirred up all the animals but luckily did not steal any of our precious pets. Some cats got loose but we were able to get them all back to safety. The burglars broke our big rolling door in the back, tore apart several doors inside, stole a compressor, tools, dishwasher, refrigerator, dishwasher and other equipment. They also trashed the vet tech room and stole medicine and antibiotics. All of these things can be replaced but we wish we did not have to spend money on things that were already bought. The truly heartbreaking issue through this all however, is that all of the medicine that was taken is most likely being used to treat injured dogs from dog fighting. The people that do this do not want to take injured dogs to vets so they are either killed or medicine like this is stolen so they can treat themselves. This is an eye opener and makes it all the more important for us to help the community and educate people.
In the first 25 weeks of this year, we have had over 50 adoptions! We know this is thanks to the wonderful new facility in a much better location. Being forced to relocate has proven to be a blessing and we are now able to help so many more strays. Our area is one of the highest in the country for stray companion animals. The support and donations from Global Giving has aided us in tackling this issue through rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and education. This is a problem that will continue, but we are making a difference one day at a time. Currently our facility is at maximum capacity and we feel bad turning people away but know that we need to help who we already have before we can help more. To alleviate the issue of high numbers, we are focusing on getting our animals to many adoption events and using Shelter Exchange. Through Shelter Exchange we can reach a much broader audience of people searching for a furry friend.
Our current goals are: 1) ventilation 2) outdoor runs 3) individual kennel repair. The summer in the south can be unbearable and we need proper ventilation and cooling for the animals and workers. We’ve got some fans right now and have raised some money but need an electrician to do the repairs and get things moving. If we cannot find an electrician that can volunteer their time we will need to pay someone to do it. While we’d rather not, this is something that absolutely needs to be done. Outdoor runs and kennels are also being worked on. The individual kennels will also need updating and ARF workers are great at staying on top of it. The separate outdoor runs will be great for groups of dogs to go outside, socialize, play and get some exercise while their kennels can be cleaned and prepared. We hope to start construction of these soon.
We are so grateful to GlobalGiving and its fabulous donors. The response and positive feedback has been uplifting. Through the dedicated work of our volunteers and your continuous support we can make the Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi the shelter that others look up to. Thank you!
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