I CARA, do you?

I've never been much of a volunteer. My high school required a certain amount of volunteer hours to graduate, which I completed, however grudgingly. My college sorority's charity of choice was arthritis research, for which I sullenly participated in pie sales and walk-a-thons. Call me selfish, call me cold, but I've just never found a cause to which I truly want to donate my time and/or money.

This all changed when my husband and I began volunteering for Community Animal Rescue and Adoption, the only no-kill animal shelter in the state and the largest in the surrounding area. Every Thursday night, Saturday morning and any other free moment we have, we go to the facility at 960 North Flag Chapel Road to walk dogs, feed cats and do basically anything else asked of us. The people who work there are tireless in their efforts, taking in animals that no one else wants and providing food, shelter and medical care for the forgotten.

At the shelter, among over 350 dogs, there is Stella, a harlequin Great Dane found on the side of the road who can already sit, shake and walk on a leash. Whenever anyone sees her, the comment is usually, "She's so skinny." Our satisfied response is, "She looks a lot better than she did." Also there is Max, a German short-haired pointer mix, who practically climbs out of his pen whenever he sees my husband coming, as Max is the dog he is currently working with in order to socialize him for a family.

The puppy named Lavender was so covered in mange when she arrived that it was impossible to tell what color she was. After several mediated dips, she is now mange-free and is a beautiful brindle-colored baby. Dewey, Daffy and Hewey are golden retriever mixes who were found severely malnourished and covered with mange, beside the plastic bag that contained the dead body of their mother. Daisy, Masie and Rosie are a mother and her kittens who were dumped in front of the shelter late one Thursday evening. Q-Tip is a beautiful black cat, so named because of the white tip of his tail. These are only a few examples among many.

Sadly, more animals are brought to the shelter every day. CARA takes in old dogs, young dogs, cats and kittens if there is room to house them safely. The current facility needs renovation; however, this construction has been delayed in order to feed the animals, make sure any illnesses are cured and clean the pens.

Currently, CARA is in desperate need of dog food, cat food, canned puppy food, kitty litter and bleach used to make sure the facility is germ-free. If you can find it in your heart and wallet to help out this wonderful organization, which exists simply to provide a safe home for animals that may not be alive otherwise, please do so. For more information call the main shelter at 601-922-7575 or visit their Web site.

Jenna Phillips Murphy


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