Shelter Share: It's All About the Animals



Animal shelters have been quite the controversial subject in northwest Alabama in recent years.  Across our six counties newspaper headlines and social media posts have amplified the voices of animal advocates of all kinds who are passionately fighting for funding, facilities and support for the shelters...some of which are struggling to remain viable with the limited resources they are allotted. Most shelters rely upon community donations and support from volunteer groups and rescue organization to assist them with supplies and services and to help find homes for our furry friends.  And although volunteer groups, shelter staff, and rescue organizations may disagree from time to time, when it comes right down to it, they are all working toward the same goal: to save the animals.  

My furry family

I currently have five large dogs in my house.  One we found walking down the middle of a busy street in Florence with a padlock around his neck from which hung two heavy chains he was dragging behind him. One came from the Colbert County animal shelter.  Two came from the Florence Lauderdale shelter.  And our most recent addition, an Australian shepherd, came from Casa Canine Rescue with the help of a coworker.  They are all happy, healthy, and pretty self-sufficient--all they want is food, shelter and love, and we have plenty to provide.

To the rescue

Now, my mother-in-law Debby takes rescuing animals to a "whole 'nother level" as they say.  In addition to the six or eight dogs that are officially "hers" (I can't ever keep up with the actual number) at any given time she's fostering another five, ten or twenty pups.  She could have litters of puppies that need to be nurtured until they are ready for adoption, or a momma dog that needs a comfortable place to give birth.  But Debby's specialty, in my opinion, is nursing sick dogs back to health so that they become "adoptable."  She's had dogs with three legs, a dog with two dysfunctional back legs, a dog with one eye, dogs with permanent scars from dog-fighting, dogs with special medication needs...you name it, she's cared for it.  Again...for her, it's just what she does for the animals. Like most every animal advocate I've met, Debby's passionate about her cause.

Our shelters are grateful for fosters like Debby, for the folks who make shelter pets part of the family, and for the thousands of big-hearted caring animal advocates in our community who contribute in so many ways to the foster networks, rescue organizations and shelters.  

But there's still much more to be done.

Why Shelter Share?

When it came time for Bank Independent to expand our Share program beyond our annual toy drive, we considered several options.  These drives are designed to make it easier for folks in our communities to donate items to the causes that are dear to them and help their neighbors.  With 28 locations across seven counties to serve as convenient drop-off points, we looked for community opportunities and local partner organizations that could benefit from this framework.  We created Food Share, a drive to collect non-perishable food to stock local food banks, and we decided to hold it in May to help these organizations prepare for the families who would no longer benefit from school meals.  Then we added School Share, which we promote in late summer so that our partner organizations can distribute school supplies to local families just in time for the school year.

When it came to our last drive, we didn't have to look far for inspiration.  For several years Bank Independent employees have volunteered their time at local animal shelters through our Helping Hands volunteer program. They spend eight hours cleaning and organizing the shelter facilities and walking, bathing and loving the animals Inevitably, these volunteers come back and share their new first-hand knowledge of the continuing needs of animal shelters, and how the shelters rely upon volunteers and community donations to continue their work. Our Shelter Share drive was a direct result of that feedback.  We are now in our third year of collecting pet food and supplies for local shelters, and hope to exceed the $8600 impact our community made in 2015 by donating to the drive.

How you can help

Could you help us reach our goal in 2016, and support the shelters in Lauderdale, Colbert, Limestone and Morgan counties?  Our shelters need all kinds of things, including:

  • Pet food (puppy, dog, kitten, cat, name brand or generic--it will ALL be used!)
  • Cleaning supplies, like paper towels and bleach 
  • Baby wipes
  • Nursing bottles
  • Kitty litter
  • First aid items, like triple antibiotic ointment

We also accept monetary donations at all Bank Independent branches, or through our PayPal donation site; these donations are split among the five shelters benefitting from the drive.  Because animals from Franklin and Lawrence counties are being assisted by shelters in the Shoals and Hartselle, donations made in our Franklin and Lawrence branches will go to those shelters...in other words, they will follow the animals.

Thank you for your support of the animals!  If you'd like to share your shelter pet story with the community, please visit our Facebook page and post your pet's photo!

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Bank Independent does not endorse, nor is responsible for the content in the linked 3rd party websites. Bank Independent's privacy policies do not apply to these linked websites.