It’s been just over two months since I made the big move down to Kentucky to get The Safe House up and running, and it’s been a whirlwind. In that time we have had 357 animals through the facility. There is so much I want to share and never really enough time! Since this is the inaugural Safe Hands Rescue newsletter let me start by sharing how The Safe House came to be.
We first started working in SE Kentucky almost 15 years ago. Our rescue was born out of a mission to save a dog at an overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded rural shelter that euthanized mass quantities of dogs because there were just too many, no place to hold them all and no place for them to go. Once we saw the immense struggle that animals and those who cared for and tried to save them faced in this region…we couldn’t turn away. We dedicated our rescue to improving conditions and saving as many animals as we could.
We partnered with the hard-working shelter employees and other community animal lovers and got to work. We brought in a monthly low cost spay-neuter clinic and provided the shelter with information and resources to help them best care for and save animals. We provided medical care, instituted a transport system and our lifesaving work was well underway. Over the years our work has made a substantial difference. Euthanasia at our first partner shelter went from 98% to an average of about 6% annually. Intakes decreased by 60%. We expanded and now work with two more communities. But there is still so much more to do for the animals.
We found that there are many animals found after shelter hours that need a safe place to go and there was none. We found that shelters were still getting full so nice, friendly animals were still losing their lives due to time and space. We found that too often animals were dying because they required immediate critical care that the shelters are not capable of providing. We did our best to get them here as soon as we could. Sometimes this meant immediate and expensive hospitalization when they arrived, often for things that were easily treatable if we’d gotten them sooner. (If you’ve followed us for a while you might remember Alfie and Falcor from last summer!) This is how our dream for The Safe House was born.
We wanted to be boots on the ground. We wanted to be where and when we are needed most. We wanted to save more lives and prevent more suffering. Our community of supporters embraces these goals and our big dream. We’ve spent the last few years raising the funds needed to make this dream a reality.
Now the time is finally here. We purchased an amazing property right in the heart of SE Kentucky. We hit the ground running although there is much work to do to renovate the property and maximize our lifesaving potential here. The Safe House property has a vet clinic, barn and house along with a big field and room for expansion. Our first major project is turning the barn into an animal holding facility which means insulating, adding a drainage system, heating and cooling and both concrete dog runs and puppy holding areas. Once that is complete we will turn to raising funds and rehabbing the vet clinic to turn it into a low cost spay/neuter clinic for the public as well as providing on site vet care for the “kids” we receive.
Since I arrived I’ve found the need tremendous. Our partner shelters are seeing a large surge in animals arriving, no doubt fueled by the effects or after effects of Covid. Last year shelters were closed for periods of time and/or operating at limited capacity, staff and hours. People weren’t out and about and weren’t bringing as many animals in. Animals that may have been brought as puppies or kittens are now old enough and having babies of their own…who are now also in need of help. More and more animals are being abandoned.
With the need so great, we couldn’t wait to start taking in animals. Although our space is limited, for now we are housing animals in the clinic building as we prepare them to move north. We’ve helped so many animals who had no other options including these puppies, turned away at their local shelter because it was full.
Eight animals that were seen being literally tossed out of a car on the side of the road including this injured kitten.
And these puppies that arrived at a shelter dehydrated and emaciated with big wormy bellies. They required round the clock care and sub cutaneous fluids several times a day for a week to recover.
All these animals and so many more are happily living with families of their own or on their way to new lives now. This is what The Safe House does…and it’s all possible because of you, our Safe Hands community! Thank you for making dreams come true.
With Big Love,
Safe Hands Rescue