The Little Shelter That Could

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Lewisburg City Council, Mayor Barbara Woods, City Manager Tommy Engram, and Police Chief Chuck Forbis have been very supportive of all of the work at the Lewisburg Animal Shelter, from initiating the volunteer program, to working with PAWS Now on the renovations, to implementing many of the standards and procedures required in operating a facility like the Shelter. To this end, they have graciously donated the labor for several of the renovations, with PAWS raising money through events such as Bark in the Park and Photos with Santa, and monetary donations from people in the community and online, local veterinarians, and businesses here in the county and beyond. Without their support we would not have been able to accomplish all that has been done so far.

Earlier this month we received word from Engram that he had more good news for the shelter. The volunteers and community were wishing for a Merry Christmas and it seems their prayers have been answered. The City of Lewisburg has allocated more funding to complete the existing renovations and supply the animal shelter with some much-needed equipment and supplies.

For example, last week the Public Works Department was pouring the new concrete pad to hold the kennels for the left hand side of the back area. This pad slopes for better drainage and allows for improved cleaning of the kennels because, unlike before, the waste from one pen will not be running through the other pens as cleaning is done. The left hand side back kennels are ordered and will be assembled and installed by shelter volunteers as soon as they arrive. The kennels on the other side, which are in use at this time, will then be out of use for just a few days to allow a new concrete drainage pad to be installed, so there will be improved drainage and more sanitary cleaning on that side also.

Lewisburg Public Works will also be starting on the concrete work that is needed to raise the brand new metal and enamel tub, with all the fittings and fixtures, the city has purchased for the shelter. We all know it's not easy to keep a kennel full of dogs nice and clean. But now the shelter will have a tub so the dogs can enjoy the luxury of receiving much-needed baths upon intake due to smell, fleas, ticks, and the like. They can also get a bath before departure if necessary.

The great need right now is for more volunteers to be involved in the Lewisburg Animal Shelter Volunteer Program. If you would like to be a part of the volunteer crew at the shelter and are over 18, applications are available at Lewisburg City Hall and the Lewisburg Animal Shelter. Duties include, but are not limited to, answering phone calls; connecting lost dogs with their owners; exercising and socializing the dogs; monitoring the dogs' activities and interaction; assisting our rescue coordinators with updated information about the dogs; spot cleaning the kennel areas; assisting the animal control officers with intake and adoption of the dogs; photographing the dogs by either still photography or video; and soon, bathing, drying, and brushing of dogs after the tub installation.

There is so much more on the horizon that no one can begin to tell you what is next...but it is all good!

To all of the community folks here, across the state, country, and Internet who continue to support the Lewisburg Animal Shelter, you are all responsible for the great work that is being accomplished here. Your faith and support has been seen by our local government and they know that through the efforts of many these dogs have found the forever love and homes that they so desperately deserve to have.

When the renovations are complete this spring, an open house will be planned for everyone to once again see the shelter that all of you helped improve. In the meantime, if you haven't stopped by the shelter in awhile please do so. The volunteers will be able to speak with you and show you some of the things that have been accomplished.

This past Saturday, Dec. 22, the shelter held "Home for the Howlidays" which allowed the public to get a sneak preview of the renovations in progress. Donations to the Shelter Volunteers Fund were made in the form of treats for the doggies, blankets and bedding, toys, tarps, office supplies, and monetary donations for the purchase of such items. The day also held special meaning as the volunteers paid tribute to a wonderful supporter of the shelter who recently passed away by setting up the Nancy Hopkins Shelter Angel Fund. The community and dog lovers everywhere will be able to continue Nancy's giving spirit by contributing to this fund set up at Heritage South Community Credit Union in Nancy's honor. The funds will be used to provide veterinary services to shelter dogs that would not receive emergency care. With money in hand to pay the veterinarian's bill the volunteers can assist the city in keeping the dogs healthy and ready for adoption in the event that disease or injury occurs.

We invite you to come meet the volunteers and see the great things happening at the Lewisburg Animal Shelter.

Special thanks to Jacki Moss for the title of this article. By naming it "The Little Shelter That Could" we hope to inspire other communities with similar shelter issues and assure them that through hard work, unity, and perseverance, great things can be done.

For a heartwarming story about a boy and his dog who was adopted from the shelter, see the print edition of Friday's Tribune.

Susan Ragsdale is a PAWS Now board member and a Lewisburg Animal Shelter volunteer.