The “No-Kill Asheville” campaign is an unprecedented grass roots effort to help keep dogs and cats healthy, happy and in their homes and out of the local shelter system.
We know we can’t just rescue and adopt our way to No-Kill. We know we must work equally hard to keep cats and dogs from ever entering the local shelter system in the first place. Through our No-Kill Asheville campaign, we are organizing volunteers to go door-to-door, neighborhood-by-neighborhood to get folks working together to help animals.
Click here to learn how you can be a part of this groundbreaking work for animals in our community.
Here’s an example of one of our recent projects: a few months back we got a call from someone concerned that their neighbor was neglecting their dogs. We went out to visit the next day and found that animal control had already been there and cited the neighbor with failure to provide adequate food and veterinary care for his eight dogs.
At first glance, we saw a yard overgrown with weeds, full of junk and debris. And some of the dogs did appear to be in varying degrees of neglect, but things aren’t always what they seem…
We interviewed all of the neighbors who would talk to us about the situation. Many were frustrated about the excess garbage in the yard and most all of them were worried about the dogs. A few shared more information about the neighbor, Duane, that, “he’s a good guy; he’s just having a really bad year.” That they didn’t want to see the dogs have to go to the county shelter, “but something had to change.”
We learned from Duane that he’d grown up in that house. Throughout his childhood, he’d helped his mother rescue hundreds of homeless dogs and cats over the years. “Everyone in Arden knew her as ‘the rescue lady’, because she was always helping homeless animals,” Duane told us.
The dogs in Duane’s yard were all rescued dogs that he and his mother had “fixed up and given a home”. Duane shared heartfelt stories about every one of his eight rescue dogs. He explained that his mother had gotten Alzheimer’s about five years ago, and couldn’t keep up with the dog care anymore, so Duane had taken over for her.
All the neighbors know about Duane’s mother. Everyone spoke of her with admiration and respect: she was a woman who has devoted her entire life to helping others in need and now she needed us to help her son.
“I’m a fighter,” Duane told us. “I’ve beat drugs and alcohol, and I’m gonna get through this too. But I can’t lose my dogs, they’re part of our family.”
So, we asked the neighbors to make a deal with us: we told them that we’d work with Duane to get the dogs’ vet care up to date if they’d help us organize a cleanup for the yard. (The accumulated garbage in the yard posed a serious threat to the dogs’ health and safety. ) A few were skeptical at first, but all agreed to help, and over the next several days, neighbors, volunteers and a few local businesses all pitched in.
We brought a veterinarian out to his house and vetted and groomed the dogs, removed all the junk and debris from the yard and made some key repairs to the house. We made an agreement with Duane that we’d cover the costs of vet supplies and help him with dog food until he could find new work.
We’re not giving hand-outs here; we’re giving folks a hand-up. For the next family we help, Duane has agreed to give them his time and support, just as we’ve done for him. He really liked the idea that he would have a chance to pay us back by “paying it forward.”
Here’s a video that some of the volunteers made about the project:
We have several similar projects in the queue right now, and we are actively recruiting more volunteers to get involved with this important work. Click here to let us know what kind of support you’d be willing to lend to the cause.
As one of the volunteers in the video said, “Any time you can involve a community, (when) you can involve people that live there to be part of solutions, then you have solutions that last.” She’s absolutely right. It’ll take all of us working together to build a sustainable, No-Kill Community, so please Join Us. Along the way, you’ll be helping build a stronger community too.