Animal Shelter of the Week: Episode 23 – West Feliciana Animal Humane Society in Louisiana

West Feliciana Animal Humane Society in Louisiana has a unique working partnership with the Sheriff’s Department, the parish government and the Animal Shelter. They work together towards one common goal – saving lives & building relationships. The team at WFAHS provides a safe, healthy and caring environment for all animals in their care & their adoption rate is over 93%! Without the help of everyone in their community, they wouldn’t be able to do what they do.

If you’re interested in purchasing tickets for the annual “Wags & Whiskers Gala” on July 27th, 2019 – Purchase your tickets here!

Make sure to check out their website and facebook page to learn more!

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.com. 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. West Feliciana Animal Humane Society is celebrating their seventh year this August. What makes them unique is that the sheriff’s department, the parish government and the animal shelter all work together towards one common goal. To help the animals in the community to help with overpopulation. They rely on homeowners in the community to help with their teen our program, without the support of their community, the volunteers and animal shelter employees, the local bets they work with to treat the animals and the local businesses who have supported them. They won’t be able to help the animals they help on a regular basis. Hayley and welcome to the show. Hi. Thank you for having made Yeah, I’m really excited to have you. So you are from West Philly Sienna Animal Humane Society in Louisiana. I hope I saw that, right. That’s correct. Great. And, uh, why don’t you kick us off and really kind of tell us where you guys are located? A little bit of your background and then maybe what your mission is? Sure. So, um, we’re located in St Francisville, Louisiana. It’s about 30 minutes north of Baton Rouge, where a very rural area we are a five, a one C three, which actually works in conjunction with our sheriff’s department and our local parish government. So our mission is to provide just a safe, healthy, loving environment for each of the animals in our care until we can find the original owner or adopt them to a new home. And we’re working to reduce the overpopulation in our community. So Lee and I love the mission statement. And, you know, I I kinda It’s interesting to me that you guys are tied to the sheriff’s office, the parish government, and then and then the Animal Humane Society. So there’s a three part piece toe What? You guys D’oh, why don’t you tell me about how that connection works and how those agencies kind of work together for you guys? The shelter when it started in August of 2012 Um, the kennels were attached to the jail in town in the town of St Francis Phil. They tore those down and because they were old and dilapidated, and after they did that, 99% of the cats and kittens and about 90% of dogs and puppies were euthanized. Because they had nowhere to be. They had nowhere to go, so they built the animal shelter, and the sheriff’s office asked for volunteers to care for the animals that were brought in. So they formed a group of members form the West Feliciana Animal Humane Society to provide help and the medical care for the animals. They were at the shelter, Um, and then over time it evolved, and we’ve been able to get the West Feliciana Parish government involved, so they actually provide our utilities and cat food, dog food, um, kitten, puppy food and cat litter as well. Um, and that’s how they kind of incorporated with us. And they’ve actually taken over maintenance of all of our buildings. So the grounds belong to the sheriff’s department. The buildings are taking care of by the parish government and the West Feliciana Animal Humane Society takes care of all the animals, the funding, everything like that. All the medications that’s all under the Humane Society. Yeah, it sounds like an incredible partnership on one that’s pretty unique. Of all the organizations that I’ve talked with, I’ve never heard of a partnership like this before and you mentioned 2012. So that’s only been seven years. That’s still a riot, really new organization and partnership. It sounds like everything’s going going well. Sounds like everybody kind of shares their their role right in what? Yes, it’s definitely an interesting dynamic. Um, you have to get more people on the same page, which can be a challenge at times. But everyone is just working for the better of the community and for the animals. So when everyone just comes to the table with that in mind that at the forefront of their minds we’re able to accomplish so much and the shelter the Animal Humane Society for West Feliciana has come such a long way. Um, with those percentages I gave of the euthanasia rate last year, we acquired a save rate of 93.3% That’s incredible. Yes, it’s definitely It’s definitely progressed. It’s wonderful. Yeah, that is great. I think when people think you know the Southern states Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky. Right. People think, Ah, hi. Euthanasia rate. And I that alone says that that’s not necessarily the case, right? There’s, you know, organizations, obviously within the state that do have that high personage and 93.3. Was that just this last year or what? Have? Yes. What has that progression been like for you? Um, that was just this last year. Um, I think the previous years have been about the same. Okay, um, for the last two or three years, eh? So it’s really come white a long way from those numbers being the euthanasia rates, right? Yeah, just seven years ago. I mean, that’s Ah, amazing turnaround. Amazing. So one of the things that you did mention is the parish government, and and I for me because I’ve never heard of this. What is? What do you mean by parish government? Is that ah, is that in county, like, explained to me briefly what that is so that we can help people understand how that works. Yes. Um, the count. The parish is the county. It’s It’s the same thing just in Louisiana. You know, you gotta stick with tradition, and we call it a parish. But it is a county s o. When you say parish, it’s the county or an area. Right That you’re talking about. That’s correct. Okay, that’s awesome. So why don’t you tell me a little bit about you know, your background and how you came to be, um, at the animal shelter? Sure. So I actually started. Um, I’m from Southeast Texas. I’ve been a veterinary technician for a long time. I moved with my husband to St Francisville, Louisiana, and I worked as a veterinary technician here locally. Um, I was approached about, and it’s been a year ago now. Ah. I was approached by the Humane Society about a position that they were gonna be working with with the parish government, and they asked me to apply for it, which I did. So that’s how I became the shelter manager for West Feliciana. It seems like a natural fit right in through relationship building and doing what you do. It just seemed like a natural. A natural fit. Absolutely. They they had known me from, um you know, the veterinary hospital and I had worked with them on Foster’s and things like that previously. So, you know, we definitely had a good relationship, and they’ve seen me work, and, uh, they just wanted me to join the team. Yeah, it’s always interesting to see how people make the transition into their current roles. So thank you for sharing a little bit of that personal side with us. Definitely. I want to get into a little bit about the community. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about what the area looks like for you, You know, do you have any straight animal problems? What are some of the programs or areas that you guys they’re focused on as well? Sure. So our community, it’s a very rural community. Um, we have a lot of hunting leases in our area. So, honestly, we do see a lot of hound dogs whether they are, uh, dumped at the end of hunting season, whether they, you know, run off from the their owners while they’re tracking, and then they can’t find them or they just run off, and then the hunters don’t care to get them back. We see ah lot of that. And because we’re a rural area, we just get a lot of dumping overall, a lot of the back roads, a lot of the dead end roads in the parish. We ends up with a lot of dumped puppies and dumped kittens s So we definitely have a no overpopulation problem in the parish as faras things like that. Okay, um, we have the cats are definitely an issue, too, for overpopulation. But fortunately, we can have, um, the ability to have our barn cat program. So we have cats that are considered not adoptable, as in they would not make a good house cat. They are more wild. There used to be an outdoors, so we’re able to take those, then have them fully vetted and then adopted out as a barn cat. And so people use them and their their barns on their property to control the mice. Yeah. Yeah. So when you talk about overpopulation, does that mean you guys have ah, tea and our program as well? We do? Yes. We have the tea in our program which is free to the public. They just have to contact us. And we set things up with our local veterinarians. All three of our local veterinarians are involved with the shelter. So they will do our tea and ours for us. Um, and we have a grant grant funding that pays for that. So we definitely you try to get the word out and let the public utilize that so we can get the overpopulation of cats under control without having to euthanize. Yeah. So you guys are a shelter. So you mentioned that you have that you use three local. That’s so a lot of time shelters will have the vets in house. That’s not the case with you guys. That’s correct. We just use the the three independent local veterinarians. Um and actually, some of them. One of the vets specifically has several vets that work under that umbrella. And they are all involved with the shelter. They all do our space and neuters. They’re actually donate a ton of their time. They’re in a rotation to come. Every third week. They will come to the shelter for half of a morning. They do our vaccines. Look at any ill kittens, puppies, anything like that. do the heartworm testing. They do everything once a week at the shelter. You don’t have. Ah, that in house. But you get it. Sounds like you guys have a clinic, and then they come to you so that you don’t have to transport the animals to them. Did I understand that, right? Yes. We It’s not really so much a clinic. We just have an area where we can do the simple things, like testing and examinations. And then they actually do. They’re all our space and neuters in their facility. Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. So going back Thio to the community and the cats. I’m curious. Now, you’ve really only been around for seven years. So do you have any numbers or your progression to show maybe where you guys were at, you know, 56567 years ago to where you are today in the impact you’ve had on on the community. Oh, that’s a great question. I actually don’t have the numbers on the tee in ours, But I do know, you know, just from the original numbers, as faras are euthanasia rate or you know what they did with the sheriff’s department before the Humane society was implemented. Um, those 99% of the cats and kittens that were euthanized. A lot of those were off the pharaoh population that people just, you know, they were at their house, and they didn’t want him there. So rather than doing the tion or at that time, they just euthanized. Um, So now, um, I’m pretty sure we probably average about 100 t and ours a year, so it’s definitely made a big difference. It is helping. We actually see less litters of kittens now, also, because of the tea and our program. Yeah, that’s great. And that is definitely the goal of it. Right? So if somebody in the community sees a community of cats, right, are they usually the ones than that? Call you guys and tell you kind of the location and then you have the tea and our group kind of go out in scope, um, and trap them if necessary. Is that how that works? Or do you guys have a different program that kind of tracks the different colonies? We do kind of have a program that tracks the colonies. We do try to keep up with the area where they’re coming from so we can see where we need to focus our efforts. But typically the homeowners will call. Let us know that they have however many cats, kittens that are feral, they cannot touch them. We have tramps that we loan out to the homeowners, and the homeowners are responsible for trapping the cats. It’s and they bring them to the vet that we assigned. And then when they pick him up from the bed that evening, they can release them back to their property. We try not to relocate them because typically when they’re relocated, especially after anesthesia, they run off and they’re more likely to get, you know, injured or killed. So we like to release them back to the area where they came from, and with the agreement that the homeowner will continue toe monitor them and Thio, you know, feed them if they will. Yeah, yeah, that’s really interesting for me. That’s something that I’ve never heard of before is that you guys are kind of involving the community in the homeowners with the with the tea and our program, right? You’re saying Well, you will do, um all the surgical in the medical piece of this. But you know, if you can maintain and trap them and write and you even loaned them the traps, that’s really it. That’s a really unusual piece to A T and our program. Are you finding that that is supported by the community? Or do you find that, um, that that’s a little intimidating for people to set a trap? And, like, do you provide them? The tools and resource is walk me through what that looks like for you guys and how that’s been supported. Sure. So because we are a rural area, most people already have traps most of the time. Quite honestly, they are. That’s something they already own, whether it be because they were originally trying to trap possums or raccoons or something like that, or, you know, any kind of, um, pest wildlife. We have nutria. Um, so they typically already have the tramps they own that they can use, but often times you know they will go ahead and use our traps. Um, the public really doesn’t seem intimidated by it. We do have on occasion where some people are a little bit concerned about it, or they don’t feel comfortable with it. Um, and at that time, whether they’re a town resident, they can. There is animal control for the town of St Francis. Feel that will help them. Um, and we have animal control with the sheriff’s department that can talkto him and help him out. But, yeah, we find it more successful. It seems, whenever we’re able to include the community in in these efforts, because we’re we’re a very small shelter. We have, um you know, very few volunteers, and so we we just can’t divide our time to greatly. So though, to involve the community and help the community toe help the problem, I find it’s been actually very successful. Yeah, definitely. Community involvement really seems to be a huge piece, especially with rescues now with shelters. I think the assumption is, and I think even my assumption is that especially when you have funding Red right, whether it’s city or state, that you have a staff right, you have the ability to do all of these things. And I think even though you have this very unique relationship with the sheriff’s office in the parish government, and then, of course, the Animal Humane Society itself. You really don’t write, have a lot of resource is. And as you said, you have a very small team with a few volunteers. So what does What does that look like for you? What do you mean by small? Um, we have. So are operating. Hours are 9 to 4. Monday through Saturday, 9 to 12 and 2 to 4 on Sundays. We have the shifts broken down from 9 30 thio 12 30 12. 32 full or every day. And we have typically one volunteer, sometimes to that covers each shift. Okay, so, dear, in the week Monday through Friday, we do have one employee, um, that two ladies air employed and they come in just once. I think they can get 20 hours a week is the most that they can work. And that is a federal program that we’re able to use to have those two employees. But eso typically at any given time at the shelter, we only have two people. Um, and then myself. So where we are pretty small, weak. We have a pretty small, um, foster program, which is growing, but yeah, we definitely need more volunteers and just trying to get that community involvement because a lot of people oftentimes have the animal they want to bring the animals. Specifically, they request, you know, make sure it’s a no kill facility. And then that’s where they draw the line. Just when, when they want to, you know, get rid of an animal. But we’re trying to draw people and make them a part of it. Have them have a little more responsibility, and they can see and understand what we’re working with. Yeah, yeah, which I think is key, right? It kind of speaks to the educational piece of this as well. So why don’t you? So how when somebody comes to you and says I can no longer care for my animal, Do you take that animal in or is there’s something that you’re doing toe work with them to help them understand how you can help them without them leaving the animal with you. Yeah, absolutely. So ideally, you know, we don’t want the animals in the shelter. It’s a very stressful environment for them. So we have recently implemented the home to home adoption where they can bring the animal, and if they can no longer care for it to us tow. Have medical care dine we can, you know, update the vaccines and dio spay neuter any other medical care it may need, but they agree to fall faster the animal, so they will keep it until we can find it a new home. We will place that animal on our web sites on our Facebook page, Promoted using our resource is and then they’re able to be re homed directly from their previous home rather than having to make a stop at the shelter. Yeah, that is a great program because it is one of the challenges that I that I hear right. A lot of people want to owner surrender. Um, and they go from this really great loving environment, usually right to a very cold and gray and really non emotional place right, which is super stressful for them. So I love that you’re involving the community, and you’re saying, yes, we can help you, but we need your help in return. Exactly. I think that’s a really, really important piece of this. So I love the home to home piece that you guys are you’re implementing and I don’t know how new that is. But are you getting the support from the community when you say to them, we can help you, but like, are you getting positive reactions from that? We actually are. I think it does surprise a lot of people they expect over. You’re a shelter. You’re just supposed to take the animal, but we’re at maximum capacity right now, so we can either utilize this program or resort toe having are animals and wire crates for, you know, 23 hours a day. So when they see that when they see look were full. So this is your option. Either you can continue to care for it, or this animal is going to sit in a wire crate all day. They typically don’t want that for that animal. I mean, there’s a reason they have that animal. They care for that animal. They don’t want to see it in that kind of situation. Um, and they’re usually willing to go ahead and keep it until even if until we can find ah Foster or somewhere else for it to go. We can try that, but it’s pretty. It’s been pretty successful with the home to home adoptions. Yeah, that’s great. So talk to me a little bit about you’d mention full capacity. So how many animals can you house in your shelter at full capacity? It’s honestly kind of hard to say. We do have, um, some pans that need repair. So if we’re absolutely just have to use them, we will. But it’s kind of challenging because it it poses, ah, risk for them to escape, um, or things like that. We can pretty much comfortably house 30 animals. 30 dogs. Um, our cat area is actually we try to reduce the stress and cats as much as possible because we’re, you know, learning through our veterinarians that the stress is what makes cats ill. So if we can keep them, um, you know, happy we can keep them healthy. So the cat area is actually one large room that we can gate off for, You know, if we need to divide it into smaller groups and they have an outdoor enclosure that they’re able to freely go in and out. Um, the kitten area is actually just one room where we house all the kittens. We only use the the kennels if they’re ill. so we tried to just let him have free Rome. We try to make it as much of ah um home environment as possible in our cat. Um, housing is actually separate. It’s ah, across the driveway from the dogs. So it’s the noise is reduced. We really tried Thio to keep them, keep him happy. But so the cats where our maximum census, We try to keep it at 40. Okay, um but if we can do a little bit Maur if they’re, you know, in Foster and things like that, So yeah, that’s pretty unique. Um, the fact that you have to separate buildings and then instead of housing them in individual kennels writer cages, they’re kind of able to socialize, as yet says normal cats would write. Yeah, I think that’s really I think that’s really cool how you’ve done that. Has that been something that you’ve evolved Thio? Or when you get his first kind of set up in 2012? Was it something that you kind of knew you wanted to? D’oh! They’ve actually had that sense induction in 2012. Um, we are trying to work towards a T east with our isolation area have in some better isolation kennels. Um, but the cats and kittens being ableto socialize, we’ve seen that it makes a big difference. We actually even have, um, roll up doors on each side. So in each facility, the cat and the kittens that we can get immediate fresh air into the facility, which we try to do daily and to help reduce, you know, the upper respiratory infections and things that cats and kittens are just known toe have. Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s really fascinating. What you guys are, What you guys are doing with that and so 70 animals in total is you know that I wouldn’t say that small. Um, but so then what do you have as faras the foster program? How many animals? Um, I guess how many animals currently in your foster program and then how many active foster families do you guys have? Sure. So right now we have about 44 animals in foster, which also includes our litters of kittens. This is kitten season, so and we’re just a tte the front of it. So we definitely have quite a few litters of kittens, and we have a litter of puppies out. So the 44 includes those letters. Um, we have probably 10 regular Foster’s people who are, you know, constantly fostering for us or in a in any kind of situation. They’ll take one in, Um, so that’s that’s probably about the most that we have at this moment. And we do have community members and people outside our community that in a pen ship were desperate. If we have an emergency situation, um, they will foster for us, but we have pretty much about 10 regular false tres Okay, Yeah, and that’s not very money, considering you guys, they’re covering the whole Paris write a whole county. Um, so have you guys been actively looking for Foster’s? And maybe what do you think? The challenges in getting more? Foster’s Sure. So one of the challenges, I think, um, with the false tres is it is such a large area, a surface area that we cover. Um, it’s hard for people to just come up to the shelter you know, every couple of weeks for a vaccine or, you know, for the kittens and the puppies, or every month to have to come up to do Ah, their monthly preventative tze and things like that, um, we try to make it as easy and convenient for the fosters as possible Will loan them. You know, kennels, if need be, they can have the dog food, kitten food, whatever it is that they need. We try to supply him with all of that. Um, you know, we just need the their home and their time. Right? Um, so and I think a lot of that is the challenge to a lot of people don’t have time whenever they, you know, work all day. They feel bad to leave an animal crated up all day. Um, but unfortunately, it’s either that or they, you know, stay kindled in a stressful environment. So you kind of just have to look at the lesser of the two evils, so we definitely would need Maur. We’d love to have more. Foster’s. We we have to tell. A lot of people know because we are closed intake facility. So once we get to maximum capacity, we just absolutely can’t take them in. Um, so if we’re able to have more fosters, you know, we’re able to doom or with the animals in the community that need us. Yeah. So with your fostering program, you had mentioned that you obviously. So the food is covered. Is the cat litter and supplies and toys and all of that covered as well? Or what is the What is the foster family responsible for? Most of our foster families will purchase some of the items on their own, such as litter, just the litter that they would like to use. Because, I mean, we have to use the most cost effective leader that we possibly can, which may not be suitable for a home environment. Sure, um, so people typically will cover that, but we’re willing to give any of the resource is they need. So we cover, you know, the D Warming’s and vaccines. But we’ll also send out food toys if if it’s a specialized diet, we cover the specialized diet. Even just for the picky eaters who only want canned food syndrome with me in food, I mean, we’ll do whatever it is that they need because it’s it’s a great help to us. Yeah, absolutely. So we definitely want to encourage people out there, even if they have to create an animal right during the day, having one animal in a house versus that same animal in the shelter with, you know, 29 other dogs. There’s a huge difference. Like you said, you have to pick the lesser of the two evils. So it’s never ideal, right? People always feel bad, like I get it. I understand absolutely one dog versus 30 dogs, right? Barking nonstop and hey, having that shelter stress. I mean, that’s a That’s a real thing. And so definitely it’s. I think it’s important for you guys to get more more Foster’s. But I also understand the the challenge you have right being in a rural location and the driving in the distance, and you know all of that. But you did mention, you know that you work with 33 vets, and so I’m assuming they’re kind of in different areas of the community, and you kind of filter them through right? Do you work with the foster families to kind of get them to the closest vet to them? Is that how that works? Sort of. We actually all three of the veterinarians air right in town, so there’s really not much of ah distance between, um um and you know, we only work with the three vets in our community, so we actually have communities that are outside of our parish. Um, it may take 25 30 minutes to get there, but it’s the closest location, so and that’s just something that that we struggle with. And, uh, you know most of the things the vents will do for us, but obviously it’s cheaper for us to do them. So for people to pick up heartworm preventive tze and things like that, um, we prefer it to be through the shelter because that’s more affordable for us. We get them at, ah, lower price, so it’s just it’s a challenge. But if we need to mail something to a foster, we will absolutely do that. If it’s easier for them. Thio to do the monthly preventative is that way. We would we would be more than happy to do that. Yeah, I love how flexible you are, right? It’s really just about getting people and involving the community, and you’re saying to them, Tell us what your problem is and we’ll work with you so that you can help us help the animals right, I absolutely Yeah, I love it. There’s really not a barrier there for you. You’re not saying these are five rules. You must comply. Otherwise we can’t help you, right? We’re saying if you can take an animal, tell us how you can take that animal and let’s make it work. And that’s another thing that I think is really different. Especially with the shelter and one that has such the partnership that you dio has that Ben, has that been something again from the beginning, or is that just something that you’re finding As you evolve and grow as an organization? I think that it’s a little bit of both. Um, you know, the shelter has always trying to make it as easy as possible for the public. But as we evolve and we’re learning more about what works for people and what doesn’t I think we’re we’re getting Maur and more flexible. Obviously we still have, you know, ground rules with the fostering and things like that. Um, we want to try to keep our animal as safe and as happy as possible, but within reason, we still we just want to get the people to be involved? Um, help us any way you can, and we want to help you help us. So that’s it’s definitely Ah, something we’re learning as we go. Yeah, yeah. And I think you have to. You have to be open to that evolution, right? If you continue to do the same thing you know, year over year over year, you stop your progression. One of the things I’m curious about is partnerships because I feel in the animal welfare industry, it really is based on relationships and partnerships and kind of working together. Do you work with other shelters or rescues either in your community or in surrounding communities? We do. So we’re only able to take in animals in our parish. That’s kind of our stipulation, because we are partially funded by our parish, um, by the parish government. But we do work with trying to get animals out. We work with other rescues. Um, we work with Paul’s for rescue, which is a rescue up north. So we try to send a CZ many dogs as we can to them up north. Um, we’ve worked with rescues in Mississippi. Um, tired. Dog rescue is one. We just recently um, worked with And even in our own community, um, bark and roll rescue has pulled from us before. Um, we have awesome community involvement. As faras donations go, people are constantly trying to bring us donations. And we do have our yearly gala, which is our biggest fundraising event. And we get so much support from local businesses, um, local companies and even Paul’s for rescue donates they for that event as well. Um, that’s something that we have every year. This year, it’s gonna be July 27th. Um, and it’s just it’s a get together. We have food and drink sands music and their silent auctions. Um, we It’s a lot of fun. It really is. We have little games. We have the dog kissing Booth, and, ah, we get a lot of great support from businesses in the area that really contribute to that and make that successful as well. Yeah, and fundraising is always ah, big piece of organizations. Right? So, you know, it seems like everybody can always has that one annual event, and I’m I’m glad the timing of this worked out well, right? We definitely want to encourage people to check it out, we’ll make sure the link to your to your Web site and social media platforms as well. So you said July 27th. And is it open to the public? Is there a registration fee? Like, what is that look alikes? So you convey by tickets? Um, the tickets can be purchased. We have our local establishments, that air carry em. But we also have, um, the website that you can purchase them is bond Tong ticks, which is B o in t e m p s t i x dot com. You can purchase your ticket directly from there. It’s $25 a ticket. Um, and you can bring kids, but it’s mostly, you know, an adult event. We call it dressy casual. Um, you know, because, I mean, we’re still dealing dealing with dogs and cats. We bring the dogs and kittens to the events. Nice. Um, yeah, so I mean, it’s it’s so much fun. It’s something we really try to do, obviously, to raise funds for us, but again, community involvement. We just want people to come out to see what we’re doing. See what we can do, what we’re working towards. Um, it’s really a great event. And that’s it. The Hemming Bell Plantation Also. Okay, So as faras other fundraising goes, do you? It sounds like you have great local business support. You guys do any other fundraising throughout the year? Is this pretty much it? This is our biggest one. We do have other smaller events. Um, throughout the year that we’re trying to incorporate Maur, we’re talking about working towards half in a volunteer appreciation event to get Maur volunteers and to, you know, show appreciation for the volunteers that we do have at different adoption events were always available for, You know, we put a little box out a little doghouse, um, for donations, So Ah, we actually this past may, we had the local business called the chill mill. They put on an event for us, which was a pasta lie, a cook off. And they sold postal ia for us at $5 a bowl, and we ended up raising $700 just at that one event. Um and then it’s wonderful, and they actually approached us about it. Um, so we’re definitely open tome or events, if any businesses, you know, come up with an idea if they want to implement something, we’re definitely open to it. I’m always amazed at some of the rural organizations. It just seems like the business support that organizations get in very small rural towns is I mean, it’s amazing. You think it would be really hard, right? Because you’re in a small group and all these organizations they’re going after the same business is right. But I’m consistently amazed at how the local businesses in very small rural towns really support specifically animal organizations. And I think, you know, for you guys, it’s really no different. I’m amazed, yes, and it’s it’s consistent with all the businesses in our parish and even outside of our parish, and, you know, you would think, Well, they don’t take animals from our parish, So why would we help Ryan? That is 100% not the case. We have so much support from inside and outside of our community for fund raisers, and it’s absolutely what keeps us going. I mean, we could not do the medical cared, which may be a little bit above and beyond what other organizations are able to do because we have that kind of support improving. You know, our cat facility. We do have the free Rome, but we would love to have kennels that are better for isolation so we can take care of. Those are animals better in isolation. And, I mean, just those banks of kennels cost $5000 you know, we have enough money to care for our animals. But you know, anything outside of that we kind of struggle. So we could definitely use more support and be able to do things like that and improve constantly. Yeah, we definitely want to encourage people to reach out to you guys in donate, right? And it doesn’t matter if it’s $5 a month or if it’s $50 a month, right? Every little bit helps. And, yeah, it’s not just the day to day, but it’s the other things that you need to do to keep improving right to keep the building up to date And, um, you know, to keep improving, whether it’s kennels or, you know, just maintenance around around the building. It’s really, really important, and you know the volunteers as well. And since you are in a small rural area, you know your pool of volunteers is is smaller. So we want to encourage people to get out there and, you know, donate a couple hours, even even a week. And without the volunteers, you you don’t really get very far, do you? That’s exactly it. I mean, our volunteers or everything from, um, you know, transporting to the vets and things like that. We don’t have our own vehicle. So we’re totally relying on volunteers to come and transport animals to the vets to bring them back to the shelter. We need volunteers actually at the shelter helping to care for the animals. We do have a unique situation where we have a work early center that will send us some work release offense, work, release offenders. Um, and they volunteer. Their time is well, actually, so they do not get paid to be there there. Volunteer. Um, but we we just need all the help we can get. Yeah, that sounds like another really, really cool piece again. And that’s probably tight into the relationship with the sheriff’s department. I’m assuming, right? Yes. That’s how that came about. Um they kind offered that his assistance to us and before it used to be the disciplinary offenders. That facility actually doesn’t have disciplinary there anymore. So we get, um, the guys that are trying to get a job So before they’re able to get their job, they just come to the shelter and they’re only able to work a couple of days, and then they go to their job. So we get new guys every few days and you know, it’s hard to keep up with that training, but at least you know we have the manpower there. So for volunteers to be there, um, whether it’s consistent in a schedule Ah, we do that. We have a rotation for Saturday afternoons where people come once every couple of months. You know, anything like that, we we would love to have the help. Yeah, Yeah, we definitely want to encourage that. And again, we’ll tie your website and all the social media platforms as well. So if anybody’s ever interested or curious, right, they’ll have Ah, quick place, toe toe lookin, Link Thio. Yeah. Great. Yeah. So last thing here and then we’ll start to wrap things up, but I always love to hear memorable stories. So as of that tech and now the the shelter manager. I’m curious if you have one story that really stands out to you that you want to share. Oh, my goodness. There really are so many situations that we have come across. Um, probably one of my favorites. 11 to mention was a kitten that actually was born with a defect where her back legs were turned backwards. So my, um, and our local one of our local vets treated her with a series of splints to turn her legs around. She her foster actually ended up adopting her, and she has done great ever since. Um, so we do, you know, we’re able to do things like that, but probably the one that kind of tugs at my heart the most. Um, is Bambi? Oh, and I know I am, baby. Bless her heart. She’s a board just brindle and white pit. Um, and we we have trouble in our area with, you know, we have a lot of pits, and the town of St Francisville actually has a ban on pit bulls, which actually eliminates, you know, some of the people who can adopt from us. But Bambi, we tried for two and 1/2 years to get her. Ah, home. She had gone into foster and then was boarding for a while. Then she got an adopter, went back to a foster. Um, there was a family who adopted her that there were three kids and she loved those kids. And those kids absolutely loved her. Um, unfortunately, a couple of weeks after they adopted her, they called Shannon, who is over our safe haven program with our pits. Um, they called her and said that they had family members who would not come to see them if Bambi was Nate. Oh, no. So we can thio take Bambi back. Um, we found her another home she went to, and that adopter actually had some health problems that came up after the adoption, and she wasn’t able to care physically care for her any longer. Um, and she ended up coming back toe during that time, she blew out her a c l o. And we had, um we had a wonderful volunteer who always steps up for us. Paid the $2000 for her to have her knee repaired. Wow. Um, and then so on it goes. And we were finally able to find another family for her and and as she is there right now, she has blown out her other A c l Oh, my goodness and what and is in need of another surgery. And that same person who donated before has donated again on its paying another $2000 for her other need to be repaired. Oh my gosh, I got chills when you said that. I know it’s quite an adventure that Bambi has been on, but that’s that’s why we keep doing this. That’s why, um, we show up every day. Look, it’s making me emotional that as a yes, that’s why we do it. That’s why we show up every day. You know why we do the hard stuff that nobody wants to do because their stories like that, like there’s ah, home for these animals. And you just have to, you know, keep fighting and keep trudging through. And we’re going to find that animal a home. It will work out, and we will do everything we can to make that happen. Yeah, that’s a beautiful story. And what a journey Bambi has had that poor doll. Like I I mean I can’t even I can’t even imagine, You know, after three or 45 failed homes, for whatever reason, right? And then two major surgeries, Um, idea that bid that Bambi is able to stay with her current owner forever. And I sure hope so. Yeah, because it’s wonderful. And they love her. Yeah, And how amazing that the same person stepped up twice. Twice. Two major surgeries. I mean, that’s incredible. And people may look at that and say, Well, you know, that money could have gone elsewhere. But that’s the point is it’s caring for this animal. And that person who donated still continues to donate regularly for us and has paid for sponsored adoptions for us. Um, you know, so that members of the community who might not have been able to adopt are able to, um it doesn’t take away any of our other work. It’s on Lee. Adding to it. Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty incredible. In each story that you come across like that definitely has an impact on the people you share it with, right? I know I’ll never forget the story of Bambi and and the people involved in getting her thio. You know to her final destination. That’s pretty incredible. I definitely love that. So, Leanne, we’ve actually talked about Ah lot today and I haven’t during my time with you. Is there anything else that you want to share that we may have missed before we wrap things up? Um, I don’t think so. Just, um, you know, I just wantto reiterate that people can if they can’t help us, that they can help the Humane Society’s the animal shelters in their community. You know, we just want to get a lot more community involvement. If every person on Lee gave 1% of their efforts towards animal shelters and rescue there, we would just be able to do anything. So we just encourage Maur Mork community involvement. Get involved with your community, even if it’s not just the animal shelter. You know, there’s other things that that branch off of that that are a great asset that we encourage people to toe. Look, Thio. Yeah, definitely. So if you can support the animal community, definitely do it. But if you can’t find another program right, there’s always a way to help people and animals absolutely a great way to end this. Leanne, I’ve truly enjoyed my time with you. And thank you again. Oh, thank you for having me. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast.  If you’re not already a member, join the ARPA to take advantage of all of the resources we have to offer.  And don’t forget to sign-up with Doobert.com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.

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