With your help, we truly can save them all

By Jody Reed - Guest Columnist

In 1975, a small group of individuals, unknown to each other but united in their concern for animals, met in a local bank basement to form the original Shelby County Humane Society. For the next 20-plus years this all-volunteer group worked diligently to aid the injured, orphaned and homeless animals in our county.

We responded to calls from the sheriff’s department and police department, raised funds on a small scale to pay vet bills, bottle-fed countless kittens and puppies who found themselves in dire straits, met with county commissioners to try to make headway on the conditions at the shelter, rescued everything from potbellied pigs to stray billy goats to abandoned animals throughout the county. We fostered the injured, filed cruelty or neglect charges in some cases, and worked to educate in others. At one point, we raised enough money to add several outdoor runs to the shelter and, with the permission of the county commissioners, recruited husbands and other good-hearted folk to do the manual labor to make it possible for those animals awaiting their forever homes to have a larger place to enjoy the sunshine and breathe fresh air.

We were a small but determined voice for the voiceless. We laughed and cried together and formed a bond that still exists today. But always, always our ultimate goal was to someday build a spacious, well-ventilated, well-lit facility that would serve as a temporary home for those animals who wait patiently, day after day, for that one individual to walk through the door and receive the unlimited love and unwavering loyalty they have to offer.

Now, SCARF has come into existence with their more sophisticated business acumen and leadership, which will bring the dreams of all of us in that original group to fruition. We had the right idea, but we were 40 years ahead of our time! The PAWS campaign that SCARF has enthusiastically set forth will meet — and exceed — those long-ago dreams and bring our county in line with other progressive communities in the area of animal welfare. It will offer a bright, spacious place for families or individuals to me and ask questions of the dedicated and caring shelter personnel, as well as room to interact with the furry, four-legged creature they are contemplating adding to their family. Extremely generous donations have been pledged, but additional financial help is needed. If you are a pet owner, now is your chance to pay it forward to ensure that the coming generations of animals will be cared for humanely and with dignity as they wait.

Please consider a gift from the heart, large or small, to SCARF’s PAWS Campaign in care of the Shelby County Community Foundation. With your help, we truly can save them all, one dog or cat at a time.

By Jody Reed

Guest Columnist