Almost Home Shelter & Rescue

WORDS Jo Ellen Banhart, Board President, Almost Home Shelter & Rescue
IMAGE courtesy Almost Home Shelter & Rescue

Jun 1, 2023 | Nonprofits



Almost Home Shelter & Rescue (AHSR), an all-volunteer run 501c3 created in 2017, is dedicated to the love, care, and placement of dogs brought in by the city of Van Buren’s animal control division. Do South® reached out to learn more.

Prior to 2014, dogs picked up by Van Buren’s animal control were taken to the city pound and if not adopted by the fifth day, they were unfortunately euthanized. In late 2016, two women championed for change, and an agreement with the city was made. Almost Home Shelter and Rescue (AHSR) could use the shelter under the condition that only dogs picked up by the city’s animal control division would be allowed. In March 2017, nine dogs scheduled to be euthanized became the first Almost Home rescues. Since 2017, Almost Home Shelter & Rescue has saved over 1,700 dogs!

Almost Home Shelter and Rescue only exists through community support and city permission. “We are not an open rescue available to take in any dog; essentially, we are a shelter housed in a city facility under the city of Van Buren’s guidelines. We must follow the rules to be allowed to save the dogs,” explains Jo Ellen.

Today, the five-day rule has been abolished and all dogs brought in by the city’s animal control division are saved. As many as twenty-five volunteers rotate through the shelter twice daily, ensuring dogs have fresh food, water, toys, a blanket, bed, and a treat in a clean kennel. The dogs are walked, played with, trained, taken on field trips and, above all, they are loved.

While the city agreement determines which dogs are allowed at the shelter, AHSR has no restrictions on how many dogs they can help. A dog food pantry, microchip clinics, spay/neuter vouchers, and transporting dogs are just a few of the ways the shelter supports the community. All that is needed to provide for more dogs is more people who care. Adopters, fosters, and volunteers are top priority! Dogs unable to come into the shelter can still be helped with fosters.

Fostering is a crucial part of the rescue process. Fostering allows AHSR to free-up space inside the shelter and send dogs to other rescue groups in different states. By fostering you not only save at least two lives, but you help our dogs decompress from the shelter environment and prepare them for adoption. Fostering is incredibly rewarding! Although it can be hard to let go, our fosters will tell you that the experience is well worth the tiny heartbreak when your dog leaves.

There are many other ways you can help AHSR such as taking dogs to the vet, doing laundry, writing grants, helping at fundraising events, driving transports, and of course monetary donations, specifically the $3,500-$5,000 monthly vet bills are appreciated. AHSR dogs are fully vetted, receive monthly flea and heartworm preventatives and have any medical needs met – it’s all about the dogs!

3390 Pointer Trail East
Van Buren, Arkansas

Do South Magazine

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