1 of 4
Photo by Louise Jett
5As animal shelter staff member Vicki Breen cuddles Conner, a shepherd-mix found in South Roxana.
2 of 4
Photo by Louise Jett
Kittens climb over one another for attention at 5As.
3 of 4
Photo by Louise Jett
Hope Animal Rescues co-founder Jackie Spiker plays with two of three American Staffordshire terriers her organization recently saved from being euthanized.
4 of 4
Photo by Louise Jett
Riverbend Humane Society volunteers Marie Sherfy and Hannah Fowler, Sherfy’s 10-year-old granddaughter, play with Australian shepherd Trickster after he received a much-needed haircut.
Three local nonprofit organizations know too well there are many reasons cats or dogs end up in a shelter or, even worse, captured by animal control.
Sometimes, the cost of pet care is too high or training and managing the pet too demanding.
“Adopting a pet is a responsibility and commitment for many years,” 5As Executive Director Ric Jun said. “Pets make wonderful companions, but they need a lot of support and attention. And they are expensive.”
Jun, his small staff and volunteers are responsible for 85 cats and dogs in need of loving homes at 5As Animal Shelter. Caring for the animals includes paying a hefty veterinarian bill, which is the organization’s largest expense.
But Jun said these animals are loving pets worth saving.
“A lot of times adopted animals make better pets,” Jun said. “They are grateful to have their forever homes and adjust to them well.”
There are many ways to help the animals at 5As. While monetary donations are always welcome, 5As also accepts donations of gently used items at the 5As Thrift Shop, 632 Wood River Ave. in Wood River. Supplies and volunteers also are needed.
“Our volunteers come from all walks of life,” Jun said. “I also have a very enthusiastic staff. I have never seen a more dedicated group of individuals in my life.”
5As offers potential pet owners the opportunity to meet and adopt a pet all in one day during its Adoption Days on the second and third Saturday of each month at the shelter, 4530 N. Alby St. in Godfrey.
“We are always full,” Jun said. “We bring in as we adopt out. The more animals we find forever homes, the more we can help.”
The same is true for Hope Animal Rescues, a local animal rescue devoted exclusively to saving adoptable dogs on the day the animals are to be euthanized.
“Dogs that are in that situation (close to being euthanized), they know,” Hope Animal Rescues Jackie Spiker co-founder said. “Then you bring them out here and the light, that hope, comes back.”
Spiker and co-founder Kim Lee, along with a team of about 100 volunteers, care for the 150 dogs at the rescue, the location of which is anonymous. Like most rescues, as opposed to shelters, Hope Animal Rescues is closed to the public, and it does not accept owner surrenders.
“This is not a dog warehouse,” Spiker said. “It’s a sanctuary.”
The rescue sits on 14 acres and is composed of five long metal kennels with outdoor runners, a walking path through the woods, small wooden cabins where volunteers or potential adopters can stay with their favorite dog, and large fenced play areas for the dogs, including one lined completely with artificial turf that the rescue won in a contest. Atlantis Pools of Alton even donated a pool for volunteers that sits between the pond and the kennels.
“None of this would be possible without our volunteers,” Lee said. “We are a family. Our volunteers are a part of that family.”
Spiker and Lee agree that after the proper training rescue animals make excellent pets. In order to better serve their dogs, the two have undergone training themselves, and they open the rescue up to dog trainers in training so they can practice working with the dogs.
“Rescue dogs aren’t broken,” Spiker said. “If they were a person, we’d say they were a wise person because they’ve been through a lot.”
“They accept the love unconditionally,” Lee said. “It’s a passion and we’re their voice. Somebody has to speak for them; if we didn’t, nobody would.”
Hope Animal Rescues needs donations of money and supplies to care for its dogs. It also encourages compassionate people to join its family of volunteers. The rescue participates in Adoption Days at PetCo in Edwardsville every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Adoption applications can be filled out online at www.hoperescues.com.
The Riverbend Humane Society (RHS) has been hit particularly hard by what some economists are calling the Great Recession. Many animals in its care were abandoned near the shelter or someplace else because of people losing their homes, and some of the shelter’s supporters and volunteers no longer have the time or money to donate.
“We’ve been hit hard by the economic downturn,” Riverbend Humane Society Director Bill Stewart said. “Support has been sporadic. We are basically living month to month.”
While in dire need of new cages, the RHS cares for 60 cats and 22 dogs, and, because it is has been unable to secure any grant funding recently, the shelter is supported entirely by funds from Nancies Fancies Resale Shop at 799 Old St. Louis Road in Wood River and donations from supporters.
The RHS is seeking monetary donations along with cleaning supplies, blankets and bedding. Gently used items are always welcomed as donations for Nancies Fancies. The shelter, which sits on 4 acres of farm land at 23402 Crystal Lake Road in Jerseyville, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday to those seeking to adopt animals.
“We focus on rescuing pets that owners can no longer care for,” Stewart said. “Few and far between, we will have an opening, and we will save an animal or two from animal control.”
The RHS also needs more volunteers.
“We have some really dedicated volunteers,” Stewart said. “But we could always use more.”
All three of these featured animal welfare organizations are dedicated to maintaining a no-kill policy. For more information on 5As, visit www.fiveas.org. For more information on the Riverbend Humane Society, visit www.riverbendanimalshelter.org. Those with questions about the Hope Animal Rescue can email the organization directly at email@example.com.
Best cities for pet lovers
- Las Vegas
- Scottsdale, Ariz.
- Irvine, Calif.
- Sacramento, Calif.
- Tampa, Fla.
- St. Louis
- Orlando, Fla.
- Glendale, Ariz.
courtesy of www.wallethub.com