The animals who visited with him, had a wish list for Santa too. Of course, first and foremost on the animals' lists are forever homes with good owners. They'd all like to be spending Christmas with family in a nice, warm home. They'd also like dog treats or toys to help make their stay in the shelter a little better.
The shelter has a wish too. The shelter is in need of is a microchip scanner. More and more pets are being microchipped now so having the scanner could help reunite owners with their missing pets. The shelter recently received a donation of several large shelter beds but are still needing smaller ones to fit in some of the kennels.
The animals at the Altus shelter are usually kept there for seven days, hoping to be reclaimed by their owners. If they aren't fortunate enough to be reclaimed, they could possibly be put to sleep. Up until eight months ago, Bolles didn't think there was any hope for the ones that aren't reclaimed. She was very surprised one day to see a picture of a dog on her facebook along with a story, asking for help to find a rescue for the dog so it wouldn't meet the terrible fate of being put down. Since that day, she knew saving the lives of these babies would be a priority in her life. Bolles said, "I was their only link on ground in Altus to help with their efforts. I had already been volunteering for several years with Altus Animal Aid, who at that time was operating the shelter." Dorothy Harper was manager at Altus Animal Aid then and was very happy and willing to help get more of the shelter animals rescued.
Bolles said that eventually their group became "Friends of Saving the Paws of Altus" on Facebook. Along with a group of others, working daily to call and email several rescues across the country, over 400 lives have been saved from Altus. Dogs and cats have gone to several parts of the country, including Oregon, Florida, New York, and even one special German Shepherd mix named Stardust, who will be flying to the UK this month.
These dogs and cats going to rescues are taken directly to Westside Animal Clinic where they are vetted and boarded until transported. Hilary, the staff, and the vets there have been a huge and vital part of getting these precious animals saved and to their new rescues and homes.
If you'd like to consider adopting a pet, please visit their site on Facebook, Friends of Saving the Paws of Altus. You can also visit the shelter at 2200 Enterprise Drive, or call them at 580-481- 2285. If you'd like to make a donation of any kind for the shelter animals, you can contact the shelter or Joyce Bolles at 580-301-1283. Any help at all, whether contributing or volunteering your time will be greatly appreciated.
Here's a story from one of the many volunteers the world over who are working to save Altus animals:
Elif Castillo's story
It all started with a rescue friend of mine posting the picture of a brown lab named Coco on my Facebook wall about eight months ago so I would help network her. Until then I had never even heard of Altus to be honest. After a week of networking and talking with some people that I didn’t know yet, the lab was placed into a wonderful and loving home.
Something happened to my heart during that week and I have a part of it ever since. Some people ask me, why Altus? Why so far and why not do this locally? The only thing I know to say is that they say that the most worthy of causes finds you and not the other way around. I am an admin for our page Friends of Saving the Paws of Altus. We find homes and rescues for the animals. I am also a transport coordinator for what we called Paws on Wheels. Once the animals have a place to go, we have a volunteer transport every two weeks that takes the former shelter kids to their new homes. Many legs and many drivers later, they arrive at their new destinations and start their new lives full of love and happiness.
I am grateful for being involved in rescue as well as transport coordination. It is never easy...we all shed many tears on a regular basis. There is a lot of heartbreak and pain. But there are many, many amazing miracles and beautiful happy stories as well...and that is absolutely priceless. Just look at our Happy Tails Albums. those pictures say more than any of us ever could.
Also what started as a team of people that work together tirelessly to find homes and rescues for the shelter kids of Altus has turned into so much more. Joyce Bolles, Susan Davidson, Deb Burt, Lori Hadley, Lisa Wrone and Amy Knipp are not just my team of admins of our page, they have truly become my second family. So has our transport coordination partner Sara Gomer. Our team is incredible. There aren’t enough words in any language to describe how honored and proud I am to be part of a group of such unsurpassably amazing women.
Every single day without fail, and at all hours of the day and night, we sit in front of our computers with our phones in our hands and talk and work with each other to rehome the beautiful animals that end up in the shelter to no fault of their own. We talk to rescues, fosters, potential adopters, answer questions, coordinate with the vet clinic and make sure everyone needs the care and attention they deserve.
Friends of Saving the PAWS of Altus is an amazing community full of people that are loving, compassionate and most of all pure and selfless. People donate towards the chipin so we can get the animals vetted for transport, others cross-post and share, many contact rescues and/or find people that would like to foster or adopt and put us in touch with them. There are always many people on there that answer each others' questions and help us be bigger and stronger than we could ever be on our own. Its an incredibly tight knit net and everyone is working hard not to let anyone slip through it. Westside Animal Clinic a very important part of this as well. The animals go there to be vetted and await transport. And of course sick and injured animals that are in the shelter are treated there as well.
The shelter changed leadership not too long ago and it is truly a dream come true. Wicy Avila and Stephanie Hatchett brought such an amazing new spirit to the shelter that it makes me tear up just to tell people about it. So many saved babies, such a drastic increase in owner reclaims. Much of this was not possible just a little while ago. We all talk about it nonstop. They both are the biggest blessing the shelter kids could have ever come across. This shelter has become a true role model for others. People see that with the right persons in charge, mountains can be moved and that we all can be bonded through compassion and love alone.
As you can tell saving animals takes team work, we could never do this without all the wonderful people that help and donate. Volunteers, cross-posters, drivers. Some of whom have turned into true friendships I could never do without.
Not everyone has the capability to take an animal into their home, nor can everyone donate much needed funds during these difficult economic times but we can all do a little bit to help. Every single little thing adds up and amounts to big miracles. Please visit us on Facebook and see how you can get involved or go to your local shelter and see what you might be able to do. Food, bowls, toys, even old blankets that you might no longer need are always welcome at most shelters.
There are thousands of starfish on this seemingly never ending beach…but together, we can throw them back by the handfuls....