Interested members of the community are doing what they can to help save stray dogs and cats in Franklin County. This shared desire is what led to the formation of HOPE in Franklin County – HOPE standing for Helping Our Pets Everyday.
The group is made up entirely of volunteers, and although they don’t have a building yet, they are already active in promoting animals as a step on the road to transitioning from pets to out-of-the-world rescues. State to adopt.
“Many of our local shelters are packed,” group director Laura Bonn explained, “and we want to open a new shelter to provide options beyond what the county facility is currently able to do. .”
Bonn said the group hopes to find a building with attached land, with plans to house animals at the shelter and continue private foster homes as steps on the road to adoption.
HOPE in Franklin County recently achieved nonprofit status, already having 501(c)(3) status approval, paving the way for accepting donations. Bonn said they were waiting to receive their tax identification number. In the meantime, donations to help with veterinary bills can be made under the Save Our Strays account at Russellville Animal Clinic.
“We have been able to provide foster homes for 19 dogs since January 1,” Bonn said. “We are a small group of people trying to help the community, and we strive to promote responsible animal ownership. We do this through education, accommodation, promotion and encouragement of neutering and neutering.
She said foster families are currently being arranged through Heart of Alabama Save Rescue Adopt and the Florence Shelter, and all supplies are being provided. “You just provide the home and the love,” Bonn explained. “Since September, my family has taken in 14 or 15 dogs in total, keeping each from two days to three weeks, depending on the situation.”
Although she said it was a little sad to see the pets go, it was a great experience not only for her family, but also for the neighborhood. Neighboring kids will come and play with the dogs, which Bonn says helps ensure the animals are good with the kids.
“When other animals are around, fostering also gives them the opportunity to socialize and get more used to other animals,” she added. “Our neighbors have been great. Everyone loves them.
Bonn said she feels good knowing that her family gave a pet lots of love and helped care for them and prepare them for a new home. “It feels good to know that you did what you could to help them be happy in their new home.”
The main method of letting people know animals need homes is through social media, a method Bonn says has proven to be effective. “The moment a rescue group sees an animal, they often want it pretty quickly and find a place to adopt it. Some of the foster homes my family has had have been to homes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Chicago and several other places.
Bonn said the group currently doesn’t have a lot of people who welcome animals, and that’s something she hopes people will feel inspired to help. “Some people worry that an animal won’t get along with the pets they already have, but we haven’t brought the dogs back yet. People don’t realize how easy it is.
For the Bonns, it is a family affair to take care of foster families, and it is something they all appreciate.
“We just need a helping hand and a loving home,” said Baillie Bonn, Laura’s daughter. “We had never been welcomed until a few months ago, and I take great joy from that. I love it. It’s wonderful to know that we have done our part to help them succeed in the next part of their journey. There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment when it’s time for them to move on, even if it’s a little sad.
Also active in dog breeding, Donna Hickman explained that when a rescue escalates and engages with an animal, the animal usually needs to have someone feed it first.
“The main thing is to protect them. When someone finds a dog or a dog is handed over or injured or something like that, they can be placed in foster care, and you won’t lose money for do it because the rescue or another organization is paying for the supplies,” Hickman explained, “although there may be a situation where you need to take them to the vet.
Hickman said each rescue has their own guidelines as to what they look for best when finding a home for the animals, such as having a fenced yard. “Foster care is so rewarding. A lot of animals start getting healthier and happier pretty quickly,” Hickman said. “Many of those who end up needing foster care have been thrown away or even abused, although some come from people who have had to relocate them for one reason or another, sometimes for reasons of health, finances or other reasons. ”
“We need to stop the animal abuse, dumping and neglect that many people show their animals,” Hickman added. “We need a brand new start, and that’s going to take teamwork and patience and a lot of caring people to work together to make things happen.”
She said another way people can help care for their animals is to keep them housed, instead of letting them roam free. “Some people don’t keep their pets upright and they can get lost or run over. I live in Phil Campbell and I drive to Florence every day,” Hickman said, “and every day I see multiple dead animals on Highway 43. That’s because people don’t want to keep them. , and it’s sad, but that’s what’s happening.”
Hickman said when it’s time for an animal to come to the rescue, “it’s kind of sad, but it’s tears of joy. It’s so gratifying to know that you were able to help by adopting a pet and then seeing pictures of them happy in a new home.
Another active foster dog, Shari Mathews, says choosing to foster an animal is an easy way to make a major impact within her community. “Foster families are an integral part of the rescue process,” she said. “Many rescues don’t have facilities for a home base, so it’s a necessary service to get them adopted while people spread the word and try to help them find homes.”
Mathews said fostering has “endless rewards,” explaining the goal is to “nurture and love” while preparing the animal to be in the best shape possible for the next home. “We are like stepping stones in the journey of these animals.”
She explained that fostering a dog can help fill a void and provide a good opportunity to teach children about compassion and responsibility. “We’re giving these dogs another chance and it’s saving lives,” she said. “There hasn’t been a week in the last four years that I haven’t had a foster family in my home. It’s about opening your heart and your home and helping them along the way.
Mathews said one of the reasons there are so many strays is because people fail to get their dogs and cats spayed and neutered. HOPE in Franklin County wants people to know there are programs to help pay for this, sometimes for as little as $25.
Mathews said there were “simply too many dogs and not enough places for them”, and that’s why it’s so important that people agree to provide foster homes.
“Many come from situations of neglect,” she said, “and it’s wonderful to see how quickly many of them can start to be happy with proper care and a chance to learn how to do it. trust people.”
She said every dog deserves its own family. “I myself have four dogs, and with those I foster, nine in total at the moment. I can’t imagine not favoring. I love it and my dogs love having new friends.
For more information about HOPE in Franklin County, visit the group’s Facebook page, facebook.com/HOPEinFranklinCounty, or email [email protected]opeinfranklincounty.org.