2022 is an exciting year for the Appalachian Animal Rescue Center (AARC) in Franklin. Macon County’s non-profit 501(c)3, no-kill humane society is gearing up for exciting expansion plans with the first quarter-mile walking trail winding through center property , which is expected to begin in July. 11.
“We have four acres around the facility that we want to take advantage of,” said AARC board member Jeanne Wright. “The walking path will start at the back of the shelter and will have a snake-like design to the top of the ridge where the path will flatten out and provide beautiful views. Then the trail will descend from the mountain back to the parking lot.
According to Wright, the vision behind the walking path, which is estimated to cost around $5,000, is to provide volunteer dog walkers with a safe and shaded course to accompany the four-legged residents of the centre. On average, the AARC has between 5 and 10 volunteer dog walkers who visit the shelter three days a week. Volunteers take the time to visit each dog in the shelter and take them out of the kennel for exercise and play. Wright said that right now dog walkers use the road leading to the shelter, but with cars going in and out of the facility, safety is a concern for volunteers and animals. The trail will also serve as an intimate and private space for potential adopters to visit and interact with the pets to find the perfect fit for their families.
The walking path will utilize a currently unused portion of the property and provide a safe pathway for the community. During business hours, the trial will be restricted to shelter animals — to give them exercise, socialize them, and ensure their behaviors are ideal for adoption. When the shelter is closed, Cathy Howman – chair of the AARC board – said she hopes the walking path will become a place the public will use and enjoy.
The AARC has contracted with a local landscaper to begin work on the trail on July 11. If time permits, it should take about a week to complete the project. The RCAA is currently accepting donations to help cover the cost of the $5,000 project. The AARC is hosting a “Fill the Van” fundraiser on Saturday, July 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Tractor Supply and those interested in contributing to the new walking trail can do so there with donations made specifically for the trail. . If you are interested in volunteering as a dog walker, the shelter needs additional volunteers on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
While the walking trail is one of the most visible and public-focused projects the AARC is currently working on, there is also a lot of momentum behind the scenes to ensure the best possible care for animals in Macon County. . A labor of love and a work in progress, AARC staff and volunteers have worked to renovate the original building on the property for the past few years to serve as a welcome center for new animals.
According to Howman, when animals arrive at the facility, there is a mandatory quarantine period for the animal before it can socialize with other pets.
“At least twice a year we have to close the entry center because an animal comes to us with something like Parvo and the only way to stop it from spreading is to close everything and close it to the public” , she said. “We have to clean everything from top to bottom with bleach, quarantine the animals and stay closed until they are safe.”
Once completed, the facility’s original building will serve as a welcome center for all animals entering the establishment. The building, which was first constructed in 1968 and served as the home of the AARC until the late 1990s when the center expanded into its current building, will include a quarantine area for cats, a laundry room for shelter essentials and individual kennels for new dogs. and puppies. The building is expected to have the capacity to house 80 animals if needed and will also have a small room for staff quarters in case unfavorable theater requires someone to stay overnight at the shelter to care for the animals.
Judy Wiley, AARC Board Secretary and shelter volunteer, noted that the new drop-in center will go a long way to increasing the services the shelter is able to provide to the community to better serve the both the public and the animals.
The initial construction fund for the project was over $52,000 – but after electrical, plumbing and other infrastructure repairs coupled with the ever-increasing cost of supplies, the AARC still has $7,000 in the fund. , which is only a fraction of what is needed to complete the project.
Todd Ortiz, AARC’s director of operations, said the intake facility is desperately needed and hopes it will be completed this year. The AARC raises funds for the facility year-round and works diligently to secure grant funds whenever possible – but they hope the community will step in to help complete the new reception building.
“We are very grateful for all the support we have received so far in this process and are grateful that organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the LBJ Job Corps are volunteering their time and talents to renovate the building,” Howman said. “With the cost of building materials rising every day, we don’t know what we’ll need to complete it, but we know we have more money to raise to make sure it gets completed.”
In addition to donations and grants, the AARC receives funds through the AARC Thrift Store, located at 1521 Old Murphy Road in Franklin. The thrift store opened its doors in 2007 and constitutes an important financial resource for the establishment.
The shelter, located at 851 Lake Emory Road in Franklin, houses 80 to 100 dogs and cats. Animal Care Technicians care for animals 365 days a year. They also offer low-cost spaying and sterilization, vaccines, and microchip implantation through the Humane Alliance and ASPCA clinic in Asheville. As a no-kill shelter, the AARC takes in animals from the public, as well as county shelter animals, and places them in permanent homes.
If you would like to support Appalachian Animal Rescue, you can call 828.524.4588 for more details or see the information provided below.