Animal Shelter of the Week: Episode 55 – Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter

Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter is a non-profit 501(c)(3) all-volunteer animal welfare group that works in tandem with the City of Jackson (Mississippi) Animal Shelter to find permanent loving homes for the adoption animals, to enhance the quality of life for the shelter animals and to provide spay/neuter services.

It’s a group of volunteers who help the critters and was organized in 1995 to help the City of Jackson build a new city animal shelter. The group worked with former mayor Harvey Johnson and city leaders for years to develop the plan. The old building was located on Jefferson Street and was quite deplorable. The goal was accomplished in 2006 with the construction of a new facility at 140 Outer Drive in Jackson near Hawkins Field. After the construction of the new shelter, the mission of Jackson Friends changed to become the adoption partner with the city.

“Welcome to the ARPA animal shelter of the week podcast. Where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals. We’re proud to be 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 shelter.

 The Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter is a nonprofit, all-volunteer animal welfare group. This group works in tadem with the city of Jackson’s (Mississippi) Animal Shelter to help find permanent, loving homes for adoptable animals, to enhance the quality of the life for the shelter animals. And they also provide spay/ neuter services to their community.

 Hi there, Sarah. Thank you for joining me today. Hey, thanks so much for having me. Absolutely. We’re super excited to learn what you guys have going on there down in Mississippi. Yeah, well, we’ve got a ton going on. We are sadly, never at an end for dogs and kitties that need good homes that we,re always keeping really busy trying to find great foster homes and forever homes for the animals at the Jackson City Shelter. Yes, there’s always gonna be animals that need a home. So it’s great that you were in that line of work that you could help them out. For sure. You know, we’re awesome group of volunteers. That kind of everybody steps up in their own way. And we, you know, obviously couldn’t do it without the help and support of so many of our community members here. And we’re just really grateful that we’re able, you know, to do this small part that we can, as often as we can. Yeah, definitely.

 So firstly, I’m gonna kind of back up a little bit. Can you just tell me a little bit about your organization and what your role is there. So our name is Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter. We were originally started under the name Jackson Friends Incorporated, in about the mid-nineties. And we’re an all-volunteer organization that partners with the City of Jackson Shelter, to kind of help find homes for the animals there. So the shelter was originally built in the 1950’s and was replaced in the nineties to just kind of get back up to code and be a little bit safer of a facility for the animals. And it’s where any animals that were picked up by animal control in the city of Jackson, are taken. So it any time I mean, there could be, you know, 20 to 50 to 100 animals. Dogs and cats, occasionally we’ll get like random animals in there. But that’s pretty much primarily what we see. So we are an all-volunteer group that started really getting involved in about 2006 when the new shelter was open. And we work really to just increase the adoption rate of the shelter and using social media information about, you know, what dogs and cats are available for adoption. And then, you know, one of the biggest things we do is just weekly, we try to just improve the quality of life for the animals that are there. We have volunteers that spend their time up there every single day, walking dogs, vaccinating dogs, feeding dogs. Really doing anything that they can to just help improve the quality of life that they have there. We have a rescue golden retriever mix who actually looks like a black lab, and then we have a Mastiff, a Cane Corso Mastiff.

 All right, Sarah. So what is your role at your organization? You know, I don’t have, like, I guess, a direct title. But I’ve worked a lot with the communications, with the social media side, with some of the event planning. Whenever we host fundraising events, just to try to raise money for what we do, a lot of that money goes mainly just to buying food and vaccinations and wormer and just the everyday things that our dogs need. As well as you know, some of our older dogs, that get adopted out of the shelter or get put into foster homes, need heartworm treatment. And so a lot of those funds go to make sure that they have treatment and they can get better as quick as possible. So I really admit myself and a team of about three other people, really handle our social media engagement and make sure that our posts are up on Instagram and on Facebook, so that people can really get an idea of what animals are available for adoption. Because a lot of people in Jackson still don’t even know that there is a Jackson City Shelter. We have some great other rescues here. They’re a little bit more nationally known, like Keira and Animal Rescue Fund. And a lot of people are not even aware that the city has a shelter. And so that’s kind of where Jackson Friends comes into play, is we’re just try to bring some awareness to some of the dogs that have found their fate at this facility and are still awesome animals and deserve a chance at a really awesome home. And I think it’s kind of unique too, because from what I’m getting from what you’re saying is, you, as the Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter, you guys don’t actually have a physical location. You guys strictly work out of the animal shelter. Correct. So do… It’s kind of unique to me, because usually if you guys are volunteers, that kind of volunteer in that shelter, you would kind of be a part of that animal shelter’s volunteer program. It’s definitely kind of unique to hear that you guys are kind of your own, you know, group. But you guys are still kind of partnered with these guys. That’s kind of cool that you guys were able to do that. 

Right. So you know, the city itself, just really does not have resources to promote these dogs like we do. And so that’s why we kind of came along and said and we’re like, hey, you guys were housing them. You’re picking them up off the streets when an individual calls because there’s roaming dogs. Because, as I’m sure, you know, the South is notorious for just a poor legislation that regulates spaying and neutering your pets. And then also just kind of what happens if you don’t take care of your pets. And so there’s a huge issue here of just stray animals that get picked up. And so that’s where a lot of these animals go. Now we do have some surrenders every now and then and things like that. But a lot of these animals are simply animals that, you know, may have been bred at one point, and then they’re just kind of roaming the streets or were born on the streets and don’t know anything different, and then get picked up by animal control. And so that’s kind of when we came in and said, hey, you know, you guys air housing these animals, you’re picking these animals up, we’re going to come in and provide support for you so that we can help find homes for them, so that you can keep doing your jobs and these animals can obviously get out of a shelter and go find a forever home. And so that’s when we kind of came in and said, hey, you know, if you’ll allow us we’ll come in and you can tell us, you know, specify what animals are up for adoption and will promote them on social media. We’ll get them on Petfinder. We will hold events for them so that people can come and meet them. And one of the biggest things that we do is every Saturday our group of volunteers will go to the shelter for 2-21/2 hours, weather permitting, and they will walk these dogs and bathe these dogs and love on these dogs. And for some of these animals this is the longest and only, like, loving human interaction that they get all week because they’ve been in the shelter. And so it’s really huge for them, cause we’re also able to see their personalities, which allows us to be able to tell the public a little bit more about these animals. And I would say that the majority of our adoptions aren’t straight from people seeing Facebook and Instagram posts about what animals are available in the shelter and how they can come in and meet them. I mean, how cool is that that you guys can work together. You know, you guys saw a problem, and you’re like, hey, they’re not getting the exposure that they need and these animals aren’t getting adopted, like we’re gonna help them out. Like, that is truly awesome. And I think it’s so unique. And it’s so cool that you guys were able to do that. Yeah, it really is a cool partnership. And we’re just grateful that the shelter allows us to come in, because they don’t have to do that. I mean, they don’t have to allow us to come in and assist in that way, and so we are glad that we’re able to do that, and we’re able to help as many dogs and cats as we have. Just last year alone in 2019 over 440 dogs from the city shelter were adopted out directly through the shelter from a Jackson Prince Foster home or replaced with another rescue. So it’s 450 dogs that we were able to help find new homes or new places in order for them to find homes to go to.

 So one of the things that I’m kind of like peeking in my head is, you kind of shared a little bit about your community and how a lot of these animals that come into the shelter were either born on the street or ultimately, they’re strays. So do you usually find a doctor within your guys’  area or community? Or do you get people that are kind of outside of the local area that want to come in and adopt? It’s a little bit of both. We have a lot of people around here that love animals and are very, becoming much more in tune with the need to adopt rescue animals and to, you know, I always say the best breed is a rescue breed. And so we have a lot of people here that are definitely interested. But we have some great transport partners that will transport our dogs to some northern rescues in which they have a little bit more of a need for some of these dogs and cats. And those transports run throughout the year and have been a huge, huge asset for us. So I say it’s probably a pretty good split between the two, from local adoptions to transport adoptions to other facilities. That’s very interesting. I mean, that was just one of the things that kind of popped up. 

Can you kind of paint me a picture a little bit about what your overall community looks like? Are you filled with animal advocates? Are you in, like a rural area where you know people are kind of spread out? What is it like in your area? So we are in Jackson, which is the capital city of Mississippi. It’s a pretty moderate-sized city. You’ve got a good amount of people here, and you have a lot of people that are, I would say are animal advocates. People that really notice a lot of things about animals, and so there’s a lot more awareness in the city, and our community, in particular, is made up of a ton of different kinds of people. I mean, we have volunteers with Jackson Friends that range from attorneys to reporters to stay at home moms to teachers, to nurses. It’s really anybody that feels like they want to get involved and can contribute in some way, and those ways vary as well. We have some people that are able to foster all the time and love to take in dogs one after another. And then get them well and ready and used to a home environment, so that they can be adopted out. We have individuals that are really kind of our, our warriors that I like to call them. Because they go every single day to the shelter and just hang out with the dogs and they update the group on, okay, we got new dogs in, or I was able to give some medicine to this dog or give some food to that dog. And they really do the hard work because, I mean, it’s hard to see these animals in a shelter when they just really want to be loved. So those individuals really, really go above and beyond a lot of times, just doing some of the dirty work during the week of seeing these dogs on a day to day basis and trying to advocate for them for foster homes. And then, you know, we have people that are generous givers and donate money and time to just getting our calls out there and supporting our vet bills and transfer port bills and just whatever things kind of come up for our group and the dogs that we have here. That’s absolutely great that you have such a great group of people that are willing to go and understand the needs of these animals. And, you know, this kind of goes back to the very first thing that we talked about, about you guys being partnered with the shelter, and ultimately you guys saw a need, and you guys took that opportunity to help them out.

 So how many volunteers are in your group alone? That’s really hard to say because I think it kind of varies. I mean, I would say at any point we could have 50 to 100 people that are active whether they’re giving money or their fostering dogs. They’re helping with transports, but also, you know, different times of the year kind of effect that. I think right now, like on an active weekly basis. Right now, we probably have, like, 25 to 30 really solid volunteers that are actively engaged at all times during the week. You know, when they’re not at work or taking care of their own dogs and their own children and doing things like that. So it is, it’s a really close-knit group that tries to expand out to a larger group, just depending on you know, what your life circumstances look like. And what you’re able to give it the time. Now is the Jackson Animal Shelter, the only shelter that you guys are partnered with? So we’re only directly kind of like affiliated with the Jackson Shelter. But all of the rescues and shelters here in the Jackson metro area and even spanning out, you know that an hour to an hour and 1/2 away and like Hattiesburg, they all kind of worked together. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten a mama that is about to go into labor with probably nine or 10 puppies, that we do not have a foster for, that we’ve called over to one of the other local rescues and said, hey, we need your help. We need somebody to help take this mama and they do and vice versa. There have been times when other rescues have called us and said, hey, can anybody transport this baby to North Mississippi? Or, anybody got an open foster spot? One of our people will set up. So while we work specifically with Jackson Friends as an organization. It is definitely just a statewide group effort of individuals and rescues who see a huge problem, in the fact that we have so many animals without forever homes, and we need to do something about it. It truly seems like all of you work together, which is awesome to hear. Because we need more of that in this industry. We need more organizations kind of working as one. So the fact that you can go to other organizations when you need, comfortably and know that they’re gonna help if they can, that’s awesome. That’s great to hear that you guys have that going on in your community. Yeah, it really is. You know it’s encouraging because I’m sure you’ve talked to other people. Rescue work is, it’s pretty brutal sometimes, and it can get really disheartening when you have so many animals that you can’t find placements for and so many sad situations. So it is really nice when those positive things do happen and when the whole community really comes together and tries to help. Yeah, it definitely is.

 That was the number one thing that kind of popped out to me when you were describing that is the fact that you have that there, because in some areas, you know, you have some organizations that just prefer to work by themselves, which is fine. You know, that’s the way they do things. But I think it’s great that you have that support over there. You all kind of support each other as a unit working towards the same goal, which is awesome! Well, and to, it helps that other rescues around here are willing now, because since we don’t have our own facility, you know we partner with the shelter, but we don’t really consider the shelter our facility. So it’s kind of our practice that if the dog is pulled from the shelter and becomes a Jackson Friends dog in a foster home, that dog does not go back to the shelter under any circumstances. And a lot of other rescues, you know, they have a facility that if a foster, something doesn’t work out or they have to bring a dog back to a facility, there’s a place for them to go. And that isn’t our situation. So once the dog is pulled and in a foster home, it’s in that foster home until it is adopted, or it’s put on a transport and sent to like a northern facility because they have an adopter, there ready for it. That’s a good thing, though. It keeps that animal in your guys’ care, and you’re not having to worry about going back and forth between the shelter. That’s awesome that you guys do that. Right and nobody’s perfect. And no rescue is perfect. And I’m sure there have been cases, there have been extreme medical cases that we wanted to help, but we didn’t have a placement and so they did have to go back kind of thing. But that’s pretty much what we try to say, you know if a dog comes out and they’re ours, we’re gonna take care of them like they’re ours and that typically means keeping them in a foster home until we can find him a forever home. Yeah, definitely. 

So, Sarah, what kind of programs do you guys offer as a group of volunteers for your organization? So the main one, as I kind of mentioned earlier, is the Saturday morning dog walking. I mean, we can never have enough volunteers coming out and walking these dogs. We’ve got dogs from all different ages in all different sizes. And so we try to recruit as many people as we can, and we’re really lucky, you know, a lot of times we’ll have different school groups, like older school kids that will come out and help walk dogs or sorority or fraternity groups or different businesses in the area that have community service hours, and they’ll come out and walk dogs. And it’s a really cool opportunity to just see a bunch of people come out and first of all, find out that there’s a shelter that is affiliated with the city and then meet some of these dogs. And there have been multiple times when these volunteers have come and they walked dogs and then all of a sudden they’ve fallen in love and they got to take him home. Which is great! It’s what we want to see. We can’t reel him in a little bit and then hold them there so that they kind of do fall in love. But that’s probably the biggest opportunity that we have.

 We also are always open to more fosters. We have kind of a program where you can come in and we’ll walk you through the process of what fostering looks like and you can become a foster with us. And then just kind of throughout the year, we’ll have different things that we’re involved in. We’ve done some awareness events at the local mall here, where we came out for a couple of months in a row, on different days and we would just talk to people about what we do and if they wanted to get involved, they could come get involved. Yeah, just depending on the time of year, we do different little events, but our Saturday event is probably the biggest and most consistent one that we do. That we always ask people, hey, if the weather’s good and you got a couple of extra hours on a Saturday morning to come out, walk some dogs, hang out with us. Wash some dog beds, feed some treats and get some love from some animals. And I wouldn’t say that everybody that goes is, it’s definitely a rewarding experience, not just for the dogs, but for the people too. It definitely is. And it seems like when you describe it, it’s like, well, that’s the only one we have. But it’s like, ultimately, that’s like the most crucial one. That’s right. You, know, you’ve got these people that come to the shelter. It’s every Saturday morning from about 8: 30 in the morning for about two hours. That’s a huge commitment to ask of people. And you’ve got a huge group of people that that’s just their commitment every week. They don’t just bring themselves. They bring their kids, they bring their husbands, they bring their wives. They bring friends from church or from work. That’s a huge thing for people to say, you know, no matter what I did Friday night, no matter what my weekend plans are, I’m gonna be at the shelter on Saturday morning to walk some dogs. And how cool is it that people get their families involved? That’s so important. That’s so great that they feel that comfort level to actually bring their kids and bring their family. That’s awesome. Yeah, we’ve got some great young kiddos that come out pretty regularly and they’re always very useful. And we’ve got, like a little puppy pin where any time we have young puppies, that we just throw them in and the kids were able to kind of round them up. So it’s got a babysitter for the puppies and a babysitter for the parents. It’s a good little situation. That is so great that you guys get the kids involved in everything. That’s something that’s huge for me. So I love to hear that. It’s important to start kids at a young age, knowing how to respect animals and knowing how to treat them well and to understand the need. I really think it’s important for people that are like looking to find a dog to add to their family. I think it’s a really beautiful experience when you are looking for an animal, a dog or a cat, and you take your whole family to the shelter and found one that otherwise was just forgotten about, and I think that’s a really cool thing to teach your kids and maybe some cool life lessons for them as well, about it doesn’t always have to come from a purebred line, or it doesn’t always have to come with papers, and it can still be the best addition to your family as possible. Absolutely. I agree with that 100%. It’s great to see people like, bring their family and get to know a dog. Or, you know, even a cat. You know any animal and see just kind of how the kids interact with them. It truly changes things, and it makes it kind of easier to, you know, your comfort level. Okay, we can adopt this pet because they get along with everybody. And the kids interact with them really great. So I’m a firm believer that it’s important to instill that in our children, and I find it great that you guys, you know, take the time to do that at your organization. Well, thank you.

 Yeah, I’ve talked about our dogs so much, but our cats really are great too. We have a great group of volunteers that I have, that handle our cats and do an amazing job with their system of fosters as well. Um, I actually, my first rescued pet that I had,  was actually a cat that I adopted from Jackson Friends long, long before I ever got involved as a volunteer with the rescue. And I like I told you before we started this, this afternoon, that she’s my best pet. Don’t tell my dog that. She’s an angel and there’s nothing wrong. And I love her so much. Um, and so you just never know. You never know what you’re gonna get. And, um, you know, I, I would always, you know, I just love to bank on a rescue animal. They just, there’s some kind of, like gratitude and appreciation, like they knew where they came from, and they just kind of love you a little bit extra sometimes. And I know somebody’s gonna get mad at me for saying that. But you know, a lot of times it’s true. There’s just something about, uh, taken in an animal that came from a worse situation. That, um, that makes everybody a little bit more appreciative. You know, animals or babies, too, and they remember things right. They’re smarter than people think they are. So they probably go back and remember that awful part in their lives and they’re grateful that they don’t have that anymore. And they’re in a nice, happy home. So that is so great to hear. I know I feel that same way about my rescue animals.

 So how long have you actually been with this organization in particular? I actually got involved with Jackson Friends about probably three years ago. I used to host a radio show and we used to do a super cat and a super dog of the week on the show that I did. And I would bring in different people from different organizations and they would hopefully, sometimes they bring in a dog or cat with them on the show to record. I mean, honestly, that’s really why I started doing the whole thing, is because I just wanted to play with puppies at work. Yeah!  And so I kind of found out about that. And then when I left the radio and had a little bit more flexible hours with my new job, you know what, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna start fostering dogs and getting involved, and I had just adopted my dog about almost a year before that. And I was like, okay, we’re ready. We can do this. And to be honest, I got involved for my dog, Charlie. He’s a rescue. He’s also a therapy dog, and he loves to love. And he wanted a foster dog. And so we just jumped right in and took 2, 4-week old puppies. I had no idea what I was getting into, and it was definitely a learning process. You know, I kind of held my feet to the fire on it. Unfortunately for me, you know, one of the puppies didn’t survive, but the other one, she did and she went to a great, great home who still sends me updates. And this has been almost three years since she left my office, and she still sends me updates of how Thelma, now Georgia is doing. You know, it’s something special about that. So I kind of got addicted then, loving on that puppy and then seeing her go to a wonderful family. And you know, a lot of people, if you talk to them in the rescue world, will say once you’re in, you just can’t get out. You just can’t. Even if you wanted to, it’s hard, you just can’t get out. So I’ve been, like, actively involved with Jackson Friends for about three years now, and it’s, it’s got its highs and its lows. Beyond anything else, I’ve made some really good friends. I’ve been able to see some awesome families, get some awesome animals, and that’s really rewarding. So you just kind of deal with the good and the bad. And I recommend anybody find something that you’re passionate about and something that you care about and, you know, volunteer and do something, whether it’s animals or children or community activities or wildlife. You know, whatever it is, just find something that you’re willing to get involved in and just, you know, make your world a little bit better. You know, I think it’s kind of awesome that, you know, you started somewhere and you had your radio show. And you had these animals, come on. And then you grew which, by the way, I’m gonna totally use that on my husband. My cat needs a rescue. I know my husband now, I just picked up a new foster girl yesterday, and I usually don’t cause it’s kind of a busy season. But I just picked her up and I sent the group a text and asked because our rescue has, like, a group text during the week. And I said, okay, I think I want to take the little black lab girl and, and we’ve named her Annie, and I said, but I’ve got to check with my husband first. And I texted him and I was like, he’s gonna send no. And of course, it takes a second, he says, sure thing, babe, that sounds great. And I was like, okay, well, we’re taking her. So I’m very, very lucky that he is also very supportive and loves animals and loves dogs, and it’s kind of a family affair now. I guess you could say that everybody, just both of my dogs, I have a mastiff and then I have just a mixed golden retriever lab looking dog. And Charlie definitely loves the fosters more than Pongo does. He’s kind of getting to be a grumpy old man, who just tolerates them. But they enjoy it a little bit, it livens the household up just a little bit. That is so cool. It’s nice to see that it’s a family thing, you know, that seems yes, very oriented. And it’s just it works for you guys.

 So I kind of want to jump back into, you know, how long you’ve been with the organization and kind of get your opinion on how the organization has changed over the years that you’ve been with them. I’ve known a lot about what they did in the past, and I think they’ve grown a ton, you know, is a smaller group of volunteers, a smaller group of people that helped just kind of trying to find their footing. You know, I think we’ve gotten to a really good pace. You know, we’ve got our volunteers that are really engaged every week and know what dogs are in the shelter and what dogs need what. And then we’ve got our volunteers that are kind of our go-to in emergency situations. If we need an emergency foster or if we’ve got a, you know, event bill for a foster dog because of heartworms or an accident or whatever, that we kind of need help with, that step up to the plate. We’ve kind of gotten into this routine of a really healthy balance of, you know, we’ll do what we can for the dogs that are in the shelter, and then when we can pull one, we can put him in a foster home. we’re going to do that, too, and everybody just kind of rallies together to make that happen. That’s always great to hear that there’s, you know, that growth. And, you know, you kind of pick up on things that maybe didn’t work so much in the past. You’ve kind of improved on them and now in the future. So that’s always awesome to hear. And obviously you guys are doing something right. You’ve been there for three years, so that’s good. I’ve definitely enjoyed helping. And, you know, this is all just built on what the original kind of founders did. You know, back in the early 2000s, they were really the ones that made the partnership with the city. That came in and said, hey, you know, we know you’ve got your thing going on, but we’ve got these people that want to help, So how can we do that? So they really laid the groundwork for us to have this relationship with the city of Jackson and with the shelter there. To be able to work as smoothly and easily as we have when we’ve got these animals to help out. You,  like you said, it’s their foundation. They built it and they’re good to go.

 So what do you guys have planned for this year for your organization? Are there any big, big things in store? So we do a lot of random adoption events here and there at, like, PetSmart, and all these different places. We don’t have any big events on the calendar as of right now, but I know that the conversation always kind of kicks off right around the springtime for something to happen at the end of the summertime. Jackson has actually been experiencing a pretty severe flood in the city over the last week, and so a lot of people’s efforts right now are literally on the street, just locating dogs and cats that have been displaced by the floodwaters. It hasn’t flooded this bad in the city since about 1983. And so there’s a lot of families that have been displaced and a lot of people that had to leave pets behind, and so right now that’s just kind of where everybody’s thoughts are. Are trying to get these animals to safe places. And then hopefully, once the rain finally stops and the waters go back down, we’ll be able to kind of think forward to the future. It’s always hard when you’ve got, like, that natural disaster, you know, that comes in and kind of just like, what do you do? You know you got to work with what you have and rescue the animals and help as much as you can. But that’s tough to hear. I’m sorry to hear that you guys are going through that. Well, thank you.  You know the city definitely rallies around people that kind of help. And there’s been a huge outpouring of support and help from different people and different organizations. So we will get through it and it will get better. Hopefully, you know, by the time anybody is listening to this, everything’s all past and happy and good. But that’s just kind of where everybody’s focus has been right now. Yeah, I think that that’s important. That’s where it should be. And I love hearing that your community ties together to kind of, you know, help and figure out what they’re gonna do for the people that live there. That’s awesome that you guys have that support. We’re definitely very blessed.

So what is something that you wish people knew about your organization, that they wouldn’t be able to kind of distinguish just from, kind of taking a look at what you guys are doing? The biggest thing would probably be that we don’t have our own facility. A lot of people think that we are a shelter, and we’re not. We are volunteers that partner with a local city shelter. And so there’s a lot that comes without, you know, we don’t operate the same way. We’re subject to the rules of the city and not necessarily like a, just a typical rescue shelter. So that’s a big one. And also that no matter where you are and what you’re doing, if you ever wanna volunteer, we’re gonna be a Jackson, and you’re more than welcome to come. So those were probably big things and that you can always find our animals listed on Petfinder and our Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter Facebook page. Now, if somebody wanted to get involved in, be a volunteer for your organization, how can they get involved with your work? Yeah, the easiest way to do that is to go like us on Facebook. If you search those Jackson Friends on the Animal Shelter, our logo is like an outline of a dog and a cat and then purple and green. Just look for those colors and you can just send us a message. Private message and someone, one of our volunteers will get back to you as soon as they can about information about how you can volunteer and what you can do. We typically try to keep our volunteers, if they’re going solo, like over the age of 16. But if you have younger kids, they are more than welcome to come. They just have to be supervised by a parent, just for safety concerns and all that fun stuff. But we’re happy to have anybody. We always take donations, food and dog beds. A lot of our families that adopt will, you know if they have extra stuff that maybe their dog won’t eat or toys they won’t play with or whatever, they always, they’re awesome and just bring home and we put those in our foster homes and give those to the other dogs. So those are all different ways that you can kind of get involved. But yeah, that Jackson Friends Facebook page, probably the best and easiest way to contact us. And then one of our volunteers will get back to you. Awesome. And I kind of hope that that helps you guys a little bit to kind of get that out there, so our listeners that are in your area, that are feeling generous and want to help out and donate and everything. I hope that that truly helps you and your organization out. We’re definitely appreciative of any pushes we can get. Like I said at the beginning, you know, one of our biggest issues is that people just don’t even really know that the city shelter exists, which is fine. Except that means that our sweet, precious, wonderful dogs that we love there have less and less visibility to the public for when they’re adopting an animal. And that’s all we want. We just want people to know that our animals are there so that when they’re trying to add to their family that they can think to themselves, okay, we want a new dog or we want a new cat. Today, we’re gonna go check the Jackson City shelter or check with Jackson Friends and see who’s in a foster home. And that’s gonna be one of the animals that we bring home. You know what and that’s important to get that out there. Even though there’s other organizations in the area, you know, you can always have that same light. Right. And if we don’t have a dog that’s a good fit for someone or don’t have a cat, then we always will recommend, hey, you can try this other rescue. They’re nearby, and I think they’ve been posting about different kinds of animals and something that might be more up their alley. But we just really want people to know that there’s some really, really great animals at the city shelter. Definitely.

 Well, Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m super thrilled. I love, it’s always so heartwarming when you have that good supporting community with you and you guys were doing awesome. I love how unique you guys are because personally, I haven’t heard of, you know, your own group of volunteers working alongside a shelter. I’ve always heard of the partnership. But how you guys operate is definitely different. Definitely unique. And I think it’s great, and I would actually like to see more of that out there for this industry. Yeah, it’s definitely a relationship that you have to kind of mold together, and there’s not really, like a standard, since not many people do it. But, you know, it’s what has worked for us, and we’re grateful that we are able to help. Absolutely. And we’re grateful that you guys are able to do that. No, thank you. So, do you have anything else you’d like to share with us today before we wrap things up? You know, I’m sure there’s a 1000 things that I could say about how everyone should have at least five or six dogs, And, like, five or six cats, and that we should all live on giant farms so that our animals could just hang out with us forever. No, but I mean really with, you know, if you love animals, there’s always a place for you to come and help and hang out with Jackson Friends, and we’re more than happy to have you. And if you’re looking for a forever family member, we transport. If you can’t come to Mississippi, there are ways for an animal to come to you, and we hope you’ll consider us next time you’re trying to add to your family. Great. Thanks so much, Sarah. You have a great day. Thank you.

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