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

Carlisle, Arkansas – Last Hope K9 Rescue is a 100% volunteer-run non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts, that travels to assist animal shelters in rural Arkansas to rescue 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.

“We do anything from maintenance to improvement projects,” said Alexa Collins, executive director of Last Hope K9 Rescue.

According to Collins, some of these cities unfortunately do not have animal shelters or control the shelter budgets to maintain and live to provide for their animals.

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

In just one week and implementing projects in nine different shelters, this group of 36 volunteers split up to make as many shelters as possible.

“Thursday, we had a group of volunteers at Monticello, and they were updating a room that was used for storage at the shelter to make it like a quarantine room for dogs,” Collins said.

Last Hope K9 Rescue provided supplies such as an IV pump, fresh coats of paint and a deep clean for the treatments that will be given inside the shelter.

“We fenced off two of the shelters to create an outdoor trail so the dogs can safely stretch their legs and get exercise,” Collins said.

Collins says it’s all about the specific needs of each shelter and how they can help meet those needs.

“We put four air conditioning units in one of the shelter buildings in Pine Bluff,” Collins said. “It’s pretty unbearable, especially at this time of year when it gets hotter.”

The air conditioner not only changed the way the volunteers felt the heat after it was installed, but also the way the volunteers observed the animals.

“All the dogs were stopping barking and whining, laying down and starting to relax, and were no longer panting, so something like this for dogs at the shelter could make a big difference,” Collins said.

He states that animals become more comfortable and adoptable when the shelter seems livable.

“I’m here in Carlisle at one of the rural shelters that we work with, and their current building is completely outdoors, and they have sort of metal panels over the shelter, so the dogs have shade, but there’s no real building,” Collins said.

And so far. Last Hope K9 Rescue provided Carlisle with a boarding shelter, the first building the nonprofit has been able to do.

“All of our volunteers pay for their own trip and stay with Southern host families so all the money we raise can be used directly for these shelter projects,” Collins said.

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

“Now, because we’ve exceeded that goal, we’ve really been able to add some additional projects and additions to the shelters, so things like adding an extra bathtub and adding a washer and dryer, some of the shelters just provide them with additional resources to deal with that goal,” Collins said. “Making their lives easier makes it better for the dogs.”

We all help improve their quality of life while they visit their temporary home and wait for their forever home.

“We see dogs that have been at the shelter for a year or two and are still very gentle, trusting of humans, very willing to come over and hug and kiss, so I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us about their resilience,” Collins said.

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