Last Hope Canine Rescue helps rural animal shelters in the Natural State

CARLISLE, Ark. – Last Hope K9 Rescue is a 100% volunteer-run nonprofit based out of Boston, Massachusetts, that travels to help rural area Arkansas animal shelters to save abandoned, neglected, and abused dogs from high-kill shelters.

Every year, this group travels thousands of miles to help shelters. This year, those shelters included Stuttgart, Sheridan, Redfield, Pine Bluff, Kensett, Camden, Monticello, Malvern, and Carlisle.

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“We do anything from maintenance to improvement projects,” Last Hope K9 Rescue Executive Director, Alexa Collins said.

According to Collins, some of these cities unfortunately don’t have animal shelters or control budgets for the shelters to maintain and live off of to provide for their animals.

“They’re in small rural counties where there’s not a ton of funding or resources, so our partners really look forward to and count on us coming down and doing this work every year with them,” Collins said.

With only a week and projects happening in nine different shelters, this group of 36 volunteers divided up to conquer the most.

“Thursday, we had a group of volunteers out in Monticello, they were upgrading a room that was used for storage in the shelter to make it into like a medical quarantine room for the dogs,” Collins said.

Last Hope K9 Rescue provided supplies such as an IV pump, fresh coats of paint, and a deep clean for treatments to be offered in-house at the shelter.

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“We got fencing going in at a couple of shelters to create outdoor run so that the dogs can safely stretch their legs and exercise,” Collins said.

Collins says it is all about what the specific needs are for each shelter and how they can help them meet those needs.

“We put in four AC units at one of the shelter buildings out in Pine Bluff, Collins said. “It’s just pretty unbearable, especially this time of year when it starts to get hotter.”

The AC changed not only how the volunteers felt in the heat after it was installed but also how the volunteers noticed the animals.

“All of the dogs had sort of stopped, barking and whining, and just kind of like lay down and started, relaxing no more panting so something like that for dogs that are in a shelter can make such a big difference,” Collins said.

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Stating that the animals become more comfortable and adoptable when the shelter looks and feels livable.

“I’m out here in Carlisle at one of the more rural shelters that we work with, and their existing structure is entirely outdoors, they’ve got sort of some metal paneling over the shelter, so the dogs have shade, but there’s no real building,” Collins said.

That is until now. Last Hope K9 Rescue provided Carlisle with an indoor shelter, the first building the nonprofit has been able to do.

“All of our volunteers paid for their own flight, and they stay with southern host families so that all the money we do raise is able to be used directly on these projects for the shelters,” Collins said.

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They set out to raise $80,000 and surpassed that amount with nearly $100,000.

“Now because we passed that goal, we’re really able to add on some additional projects and extras for the shelters, so things like adding an extra bathtub adding a washer and dryer, and some of the shelters just giving them additional resources to kind of make their lives easier make like better for the dogs,” Collins said.

We are all helping to improve the quality of their lives while they are visiting their temporary home and awaiting their forever ones.

“We see dogs that have been in the shelter for a year or two years and they are still so sweet, so trusting of humans, so willing to just come over and cuddle and give kisses, so I think I think there’s a lesson in there for all of us about their resilience,” Collins said.

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