Animal Rescue of the Week: Episode 53 – Hope Fur Paws Rescue

Hope Fur Paws Rescue is a new 501c3 nonprofit animal rescue. In their first year, they have adopted out over 60 dogs and 30 cats. They rely on donations to get everyone spayed, neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, treat any ailments, and put these furbabies on heartworm prevention. They find loving homes through Petfinder, Facebook, and our website. Their mission is to help as many animals as we can feel what love is. Watching them go to their fur-ever homes is the best reward!

Website: to the ARPA Animal Rescue of the Week Podcast featuring outstanding organizations around the country that are helping animals and the people who rescue them. This podcast is proudly sponsored by Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal rescue.

Hope Fur Paws Rescue is a new nonprofit animal rescue. In their first year, they adopted out over 60 dogs and 30 cats. They rely solely on the donations to get every animal spayed, neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, treat any alignments and get them on heartworm prevention. They find loving homes for these guys through Petfinder, Facebook and their website. Their ultimate mission is to help as many animals as they can to help them feel what love is. Watching them go to their forever homes is the best reward for this organization.

Hi, Faith. Hi, Amanda. Welcome to the show today. Hi, thank you. Of course, we’re happy to have you and Faith, you are the Founder of Hope Fur Paws Rescue in Arkansas. And Amanda, you are the Vice President, is that correct? Yes, ma’am. Perfect. So why don’t you just start out and tell us a little bit about your organization and how you came to know you wanted to run an animal rescue organization? I’m a vet tech as well. And so I’ve always loved animals. And about 15 years ago, I started volunteering, kind of helping another rescue in town. And it just kind of drove me to wanting to do this even more because I knew there was a need for even more help. And so my husband and I purchased a property in October of 18 and in Lawndale and about four acres and needed a lot of work. But since then we’ve done a lot of work, and we just kind of started the rescue up and started out small. And we’ve gotten bigger and bigger, and we’re just kind of learning as we do.

And Amanda in about January of 19 messaged to my Facebook page and wanted to help volunteer and, well, me and her just hit it off like we’re best friends like sisters and stuff. Now her and her family live here with us and all under one roof, and we’re running the rescue together. And you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I couldn’t do without her. How awesome is that? Now you’ve got kind of that partner and that helper, and you know, she’s also gonna be a lifelong friend now. How awesome and you’re absolutely right. You know, the need in this industry is there’s always room for more people. There’s always room to grow and help out wherever ,you know, that’s kind of the good and the bad thing about this industry. Yeah.

So you guys are definitely fairly new, and I find that very intriguing. You know, usually the organizations that I talked to are pretty established, so I’m very intrigued to talk to you guys and just kind of get, you know, your perspective on how things were going. I mean, you said that you guys purchased that four acres of land and it’s a lot of work, you know, to kind of get it ready to go. Yes. But I’m just kind of curious. What is the community like in that area? They’re very supportive. The stores that we go, Tractor Supply to get our food. They know us when we walk in the door. Now they know us my name and they’ll text us and say “hey, we got this. If you need this,” or people will message us “hey, we’re about 30 minutes away and I have some donations for you.” And people—our page has grown so much just on Facebook locally but even over the world. But we’re over, like 4,000 followers in a little over a year, and it’s just amazing. The people, when you tell them you have a rescue around here, it’s a small community out here and they’re like, “oh, my gosh, it’s so needed.” And it’s nice, very supportive. And that’s great because, you know, they play a huge role in your organization, even if they’re not physically involved. That’s awesome.

So what is it like for the animals in your area? Do you guys have, like, overpopulation as an issue, or what does that look like? Yeah, absolutely. Wherever you drive, you’re gonna see strays. You’re gonna see people. Dogs just run loose and they don’t keep him in yards, and they don’t spay and neuter around here. Educating people on spay and neuter is what we want to get more involved in doing, too, but that also down here in the south. There’s a lot of old school people that don’t believe in neutering or fixing their animal, you know, and they just don’t understand the importance. But we try and show people on our Facebook page, we’ll go live or we show videos. We have a lot of bottle babies right now, and somebody wanted to adopt from us and didn’t want to get the puppy that they’re adopting neutered. And we were like, “no, that’s not how this works. You’re not gonna use the dog for breeding. We don’t do that.” I mean spay and neuter, spay and neuter, you know.

It’s very important. It definitely is. And it’s almost like it’s a lack in so many different states and just communities in general. So it’s definitely tough, but it’s great that you guys were doing your part and just kind of taking that initiative. Like if you have somebody like you said, who doesn’t want to neuter their puppy, more than likely, you know that they’re wanting to breed that puppy, so. Yeah, it’s just like “no, because we’re going to get them neutered before they go to you,” and then they kind of like, “oh, they don’t like that.” It’s like you don’t understand. We’re a nonprofit rescue. We have to spay and neuter, and we want to spay and neuter because that’s the problem. That’s why we’re running thus, you know. That’s why we do what we do. Yeah, I think the big problem is people are very uneducated or they’re just blind to it. You know, it’s gonna be hard to overcome, but we’re hoping we can at least make a little dent in that, you know, make it a little bit better.

Absolutely. And what better way to try and make a dent than opening up your own animal rescue? So awesome. No, I mean it. Definitely. It takes a lot. I personally don’t know. But I can only imagine how much work goes into the hole opening an animal rescue and running in everything of that nature. So you’re doing awesome. You know, it’s rough, but one of the things that I was kind of curious about is, you know, the type of animals that you take in. Do you guys just take in the usual cats and dogs, or do you guys come to step out of those boundaries a little bit? We kind of stepped out a little bit. We took in some chickens and rabbits and ducks from one lady, and so we don’t typically do that. That that was like a special situation and she was moving out of state. And honestly, when I found out, they were in pretty rough shape. I mean, the chickens were losing their hair and just not on the right diet. We did our research, and they are like, beautiful, beautiful birds now. I mean, they’re doing great. So, yeah, that wasn’t what we were planning on, but—. But it definitely, you know, you stepped out of those boundaries and it’s nine times out of 10. The ones that need the most of the cats and the dogs, so. Right. Alrighty.

So, do you guys do any type of fundraising events or anything to kind of involve the people of your community with your organization? We—Tractor supply hosts a lot, and we actually have a few events coming up with them and the manager there. The store manager is amazing, and he has us basically, whenever we’re available, he lets us come in. We set up and well, do you like silent auction item, or of course, we take dogs and cats that are available for adoption, but we haven’t done really any other kind of like big fundraising except on Facebook. That’s one thing that we’re lacking and knowledge of, is fundraisers. You know, you as a new, founder of an organization, you’re gonna run into more struggles than an organization that’s been kind of established just because it’s twice the amount of work, you know. But you’re definitely on the right track. I truly believe that, you know, you’ve got great support. Tractor supply is a good one. And, you know, let’s face it, who doesn’t go to tractor supply? Oh, yeah. I love shopping there.

So I know that we kind of covered a little bit about your community and, you know, kind of, the struggles that the animals face within your community. What are your challenges that you’re facing, like, what would you say is your biggest challenge right now? Getting a consistent donation, you know, coming in. I mean, there are a few people that donate regularly. Then there’s a few that have never donated that’ll donate here and there. But getting people to realize how much it takes, you know, financially to do this. That’s our biggest, because we’re always like, “okay, we have this much money, and that’s what we need to do,” and luckily, the vet that I worked for. He does our spays and neuters, and he’s done a leg amputation on a cat for us.

It was actually two vets there, Dr. Fader and Dr. Bell. But they both do stuff for us, and luckily they work with us. They know we’re good for it. So it’s something emergency happens. They’ll go ahead and do it, and we can just get to them when we can. That’s awesome, though. I mean, that’s a huge gain to have a supporting vet whether they’re on site or locally, just the fact that you kind of already have that foot in the door that they encourage what you’re doing and they support you is awesome.

And that was actually one of my next questions was, you know, do you guys work with the local vet? Or do you guys kind of provide any type of shots or anything? So I know you said you’re a vet tech. So do you do any of the shots or vaccines, or I don’t remember if you said you microchip at all? Do you do any of that on site? Yes, I order our vaccines and then they’re delivered here. And so we keep both dewormers through my boss, the big ol’ bottles of vaccine whatever we got. So you know, all the puppies, any dog at any age, they all get dewormed and they get boosters. When they come in the door, we have bordertella, you know, kennel cough. And we give that to them if they’re of age. If they’re under nine weeks, we don’t give it. But, you know, cats get shot, they get leukemia, AIDS tested, and we do microchip.

And yes, we do have the ability to microchip. We ordered some. And if the adopter wants a microchip, then we will do it for them at no extra cost. It’s because the microchip that it’s through, I think it’s like $15 or $20 a month or a year for their enrollment. I want to say it’s a year. And so it just all depends on the adopter, if they want that or they can go to their vet and get one, but we offer it. Yeah, that’s an awesome thing to offer. You know, it’s very big now. People want you to microchip your pet for various reasons. You know, people always say, you know, “my pet never gives out,” but it’s gonna be that one time. Exactly. That one time.

So backing up a little bit kind of talk about your donations and your funding. How can our listeners support you or help you with that challenge? Do you guys have, like, a donation spot on your website? Can they contact to you? How can they go about doing that? You can contact us by phone. on our web page on the website on the home screen. It directs you right where you can make a direct donation if you want to there, or if you’re on our Facebook page. We have our PayPal, and that’s posted numerous times on there, so people have a PayPal and want to do it that way. Or if they want to mail us, a donation we don’t have on the website.

Our address isn’t posted yet because we’re trying to in this next month. Get the construction done before we post our address just to kind of keep the foot traffic down until it’s done. But we’re more than welcome to share our location. We do with people all the time, just through private messaging on our page. But, yeah, just any help we can use.We have a couple middle school in high schools around here that some of the students want to do like fundraisers for us.

And actually, tomorrow we’re going to a local elementary school. The second graders did a fundraiser for us, and the teacher said they raised a pretty good amount of money for us, you know, for second graders. And she asked if they wanted her to take it to the bank to get like an official check or whatever that they can present to us tomorrow. And they said, “no, keep all the change in the jars and let’s give him the jars.” Oh my goodness. So we’re pretty excited about that. Were like, “oh, heck yeah, money’s money!” Like that helps. Absolutely and it’s so funny because that’s like a typical second grader like “no, the money looks cooler than a piece of paper! C’mon!” Yeah, we’re kind of curious to see that tomorrow, so.

They’re gonna show up with, like 10 different jars filled with money. How awesome to kind of get them involved and get them excited, you know, to do a fundraiser and help animals out. That’s awesome, because they’re our future. Exactly. And ultimately, if we can get them involved the animals will have a better future. That’s our hope is we can start doing more events and programs with the school and getting the kids, you know, involved and educated because you know, they need to have that experience and hear what we have to say and maybe take some of our fur babies along with us and telling their story so they can visually see it and hopefully we’ll make an impact.

Then they can make a better impact for animals live. Absolutely. That’s the most important thing. It’s very crucial. But I’m so happy to hear that, you know, getting involved with the schools and the fact that it just what it does for those kids to kind of get excited and something to work towards. And I’m sure that they—will, some maybe you bring some animals tomorrow, maybe? Yes, they love puppies, all kids love puppies, so.

I’m curious. I know that you said that you guys don’t give out your address until the construction is finished. So, do you guys have any volunteers that help you out? Or is it just you, Amanda and your spouses at this point? It’s just me and Amanda and our husbands and her kids who are grown and my dad and his fiance actually moved here about a week ago on site, and he’s retired. So he’s kind of our handyman around here. So it’s just a family-run operation, you know. You know, we used to have volunteers. There were, you know, two that came regularly, but they just kind of, you know, they don’t stay. And, yes, we could use the help. Absolutely.

But also, we like we love on the babies everyday ourselves and see how they’re doing and make sure they get there right medication if they’re on medication, and things of that nature. So I’m hoping, you know, me and Amanda hopes that maybe we can find another Amanda somewhere. Cause I got lucky with her, so if we can find a few more volunteers that are willing to help out regularly that we can count on and trust. You know, it’s just it’s hard to find trusting people and people that actually care enough to do the right thing and handle these animals properly, because each one you have to handle differently because of their personality.

To have that support system between Amanda and her coming and helping out. And you know, now your dad, how awesome is that? That kind of the way I saw it was that kind of brought people closer together. And it brought your family and, you know, friends. Yeah. That’s awesome. And I truly believe that you guys air headed in the right direction. You’ve got a great vision. You know what’s needed. You know that every animal needs to be cared for differently. The right person, or the second right person will come around. Yeah, we know, they’ll come along and, you know, the schools, they message us, there’s kids that want to come out and help on the weekends or something that your parents gonna bring their kids and help.

And we’re all for that. Like we’re like, “yes. Come on, y’all can come you know, help and see what we do on a daily basis,” and see how much these animals love that attention. And you know they need that attention. Yes. And it helps because some we get them and we have one here, Belle. How long have we had her? About 10 months. Yeah about eight months. Eight months or so. And she was something. We didn’t touch her. And now we still can’t get a leash on her because there’s something about a leash that she’s terrified. But now we can pet her and touch her head and she gives kisses.

And I mean, this dog you got near her, she would snarl, and we were like, “oh my gosh, what we’re gonna do with her,” you know? And here we are. I mean, she’s been here eight months, but she’s come such a long way, and we know there’s the right home for her. But someone just gotta have patience for her. And if we can bring other people in our families or anyone that wants to volunteer, socializing is a huge thing, and she does really good with just about anybody now. She’ll jump up and want anyone to pet her. So it’s amazing to see red transformation.

It is, and that’s all because of the work that you guys are doing. That’s so great that she is opening up and she knows that you guys were there to help her. She’s our Belle-Belle. She’s a pretty girl. Oh. That’s what we call her, she loves it. She brings her ball to us, and want to play fetch. So we do. And look at that. You know, I’m sure that’s something that she didn’t even remotely think about when you first found her. No, no, she was screaming and just terrified of us. And we were just thinking like we haven’t had a dog like that. So we didn’t know how we were gonna handle her. And if we needed to bring in a special trainer something like that, which is not money we have.

But we’re always kind of thinking outside the box, you know, on how we can help these animals. And she just kind of learned to trust us over time. We would just sit down in her pen and let her come to us. And, you know, eventually it was just like one day she jumped up on us, gave us kisses, and then she was our friend and all was good in the world, so. Well, good, that’s so good. And then you know the fact that you’re paying attention to her needs and you took on that challenge, which it was new for you guys. That’s awesome.

So I’m kind of curious how do the animals kind of come to be with you. Like do you guys find them? Are they strays? Are they kind of like an owner surrender type basis? All the above. But mostly, people contact us through our Facebook page. And of course, we have our phone number listed on there, and sometimes we’ll get phone calls and people say, “hey, I found this dog and I can’t keep it. Can you help?” or you know something of that nature. And that’s usually how we get them, is through messaging, people contacting us. We definitely don’t go out looking for them, we always joke “no they’ll find their way to us,” we’ve already got her hands full, so we know that there’s no shortage on animals for sure. Definitely, it’s just a constant cycle.

So what is usually your maximum that you have in your care? I guess, how many animals do you guys care for, currently? Currently, we have about 15 cats. And of course, we have a barn and they have their own, like, half of the barn is enclosed for them and they have a loft. And so they got their toys. They’re little things they can climb on. So 15 cats. But we just got the bottle babies, so 40-45 total. Yeah, around 40 to 45 dogs and puppies. That’s a large amount to, you know, care for specially since it’s only the two of you guys. Yes. And of course, you know, with these little puppies that we have, we have two litters inside with us, in our home, because we live on site as well, and so we don’t want them out in the shelter.

So, you know, we have the little ones inside with us so we can feed them and clean them, and do whatever we need to make sure they’re okay. And it’s definitely a lot of work. We’re both like, “oh, my God, it has been too long since we’ve had babies.” Yeah. You’re like “when do we get a break? Do we nap when they nap—or what?” We’ll pass off. “okay, you sleep this long and then I’ll get up, and then I’ll sleep when you’re up.” I mean seriously. It’s no joke. It’s a constant—for the most part, you guys caring for them, I’m like, “oh man. I’m a mom of two toddlers, and I’m worn out at the end of the day.” Yeah, I have two Children of my own. I have a seven and eight year old. Well, nine year old now she’s just turned nine, but yeah, I’ve got two kids. And of course, Amanda, her kids are grown but she has grandchildren. They’re young, she watches her great nieces and nephews and their 3 to 5. And so we always have kids here and in the mixed of all of it. And yeah, it’s a lot.

People ask us all the time. “How do you all do it? How do you do it?” And I still work part time at the vet clinic, and I don’t know how I do it. Yeah, definitely. I don’t. But I mean, it’s great that, you know, you guys are comfortable enough to get your family involved and get your kids involved. So that works as an enrichment with the animals you have, which is you know, super important with an organization. Well, I was just gonna say how the kids help the puppies get socialized. They hold them all the time. The older ones, they want to get in the pen and hold them, so.

Share with me a little bit about your vision for Hope Fur Paws Rescue. I want to know where do you want to be in five years? or even a year? Amanda and I would really like to get more involved in transporting across the country. We would love to get, you know, one of the big van and convert it into, like, a little sleeper loft for us. When we’re traveling, we can sleep with the dogs, and that way we can. We’ve had one go to Rhode Island and we put him on a dog transport, and she’s doing fantastic. And we’ve had a few others go to surrounding states, but that’s by far the furthest.

So we definitely want to do that. And once again, we kind of want to do the transporting ourselves and kind of make that, you know, in addition to the rescue and kind of see for ourselves. Where our babies were going. We cry all the time when they leave, and so would love to do that and, of course, finishing the shelter build. And we want to add another smaller building to the back side. Of course, it’s empty right now, but we have. I think that building is around 700 square feet. The shelter we built, which we built ourselves, us and our husbands and a couple friends, really good friends chipped in, and then a roofing company donated their time and plans to roof it for us. They’re fantastic, that just blew me away. And then an electrical company donated the supplies in time to run electric to it.

So you know, it’s just all come together and we’re just very blessed. We want to definitely grow not just our community but also across, you know, the country. That just shows that you guys are, you know, you’ve got that supportive community, which is ultimately important. You wanna have that support and they believe in what you’re doing. And that’s awesome that you guys have that. We’re definitely very lucky and very blessed, and we thank God every day for what he has provided us with even on our hard days, you know. Some days they’re just really strenuous, like more emotionally than physically sometimes.

And so it’s good to remember the good and think of the positive. And so you just think about, Man when we look out of that building, we’re like, “hey, we did this.” We have this vision and we made this happen. Like, and there’s people that, like, “y’all are not gonna be able to do that.” You know, there have been doubters, and being like, you know, if you set your mind to it, you can do anything you want. And I honestly, I think that that makes you more appreciative and want to work harder because pretty much you built it from the ground of, literally this whole foundation that you’ve built.

So it wasn’t just like it was given to you or, you know, you just kind of work there, and you just kind of showed up one day, like this is your baby, essentially. You built and you know that you guys are running that foundation and building it. You know, when you guys have great big dreams and hopes for your organization and I truly think that you can get there. And, you know, we’d love to check back in with you, you know, in the future and just see how far you guys have come. You’re in it for the long haul. Yes, yes, we are Amanda and I are out there up to our necks in dog poop and cleaning and taking care everything. Everyone’s clean and taken care of.

And we would do anything for these babies because they’re our babies and we take a lot of time and, you know, talking to people when they apply and making sure, you know, that they’re good fit and we keep in touch with a lot of people, too. And we like seeing them grow. And a lot of people send us update pictures. And there’s a few people that will bring the dogs they’ve adopted from us to an adoption event to visit us. And it’s double rewarding to see that. And we’ve met some amazing people along the way, and we’re excited for the future. Yeah, I mean, I would definitely say so. You guys are doing great. I’m so happy that you guys are able to join us today.

And, you know, just share with us. You know, your ups, your downs, your highs, your lows like that’s truly why we do these podcasts. And we want other organizations or even other listeners that are just thinking about either volunteering or wanting to have, you know, a rescue of their own one day that it is possible. You know, it’s hard work, but it’s possible. Yeah, they want to like our Facebook page and share. If someone wants advice on, if they want to do this in their location, we would love to help in that way. I mean, we’re all for, you know, educating people and helping animals and helping people, too. I mean, it’s very therapeutic, you know, helping these animals. I encourage all of our listeners to check out your Facebook.

And by the way, I love your guys’ is logo. Oh, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. A friend of mine actually designed that. It was one of the options he had made for us. And I saw that and I was just like “that’s it, that’s it.” It is! It’s a good one. I like it. It’s very I don’t know. I’m very drawn to it. So I wanted to make sure that I pointed that out there because I think it’s awesome. Thank you. Yeah, he did a fantastic job. And honestly, I’m not even gonna lie from talking to you and kind of just getting a little bit of your background. And you know why you decided to open an animal rescue it just like it fits you. It’s weird, but it fits.Yeah, I get it. Yeah. No, I totally get it. That’s what I thought it was like, that’s what I had in my head. But I’m not that artistic, so.

Well, I think it matches. And, you know, I think it’s very warming and it’s welcoming. And that’s always a good thing to see when you go on a website or a Facebook page or anything like that. So Faith, do you have anything else that you would like to share with us? Any upcoming events, any advice that you have, or anything like that before we wrap things up? Well, we have a couple events at Tractor Supply. We are in hot welded—the Tractor Supply is in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and this Saturday the 7th, we’ll be there from 10:00 to 3:00, and the 28th, and then the 4th we’ll be there. All those will be there from 10:00 to 3:00.

And yeah, we love people just to come say hi. And yes, we have people that’ll come and just say “hey I follow your page.” I mean, that’s just so cool. You know, one lady stopped me in Walmart and I think I told me Amanda, one of the workers saw me and she was like, “do you run Hope Fur Paws?” And I was like, “Yeah.” She’s like, “I remember you from one of your videos.” And I mean, it was really cool. Of course I looked horrible WalMart shopping, but, you know, even pretty neat. I was like, “Yeah,” but advice to other people wanting or thinking about doing this and thinking that they can’t, I don’t know how many times I was told—I’m still told that ‘I’m crazy,’ and ‘I couldn’t do this,’ and ‘it wouldn’t be possible,’ and ‘it’s too hard,’ and ‘you’ll never be able to achieve your goals’ and this and that. Don’t listen to those people.

You can do anything you want and just set your mind to it. Find the right circle of family and friends and which, at this point, Amanda’s family. Her husband is our family, her children are our family. And every night we all have dinner together, and it’s just you never know where your life’s gonna go and so open yourself up to things that you wouldn’t necessarily do. Take a chance and maybe you’ll get an Amanda. Oh my gosh, I love it. I love the feeling that I get when you talk about how close you guys are and everything like that, it’s truly inspiring. And, you know, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you guys. I can’t wait to see how you guys grow and welcome new family members in. And I’m super thrilled for you guys. Well, thank you so much. Thank you for having us. Of course.

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