In the animal rescue world, there is a universal hope…not having a need for shelters. That is the dream of every person out there working in those shelters…in those rescues. In a perfect world, everyone would be kind to animals, spay and neuter, and treat their animals like family, but we know that is not the case. Animal rescue can take a toll on you mentally, physically and of course emotionally. So to meet a group of people on our #34 state on the Adventure Of A Lifetime who were overwhelmingly kind, overwhelmingly happy and overwhelmingly driven touched us. We introduce you to the people behind the Baldwin County Humane Society in Fairhope, Alabama.
When we arrived at the Baldwin County Humane Society, we couldn’t even get out of our car before we were greeted with open arms.
The staff and volunteers here were so happy we were paying them a visit, but we felt that we were the fortunate ones.
Even though our campsite base was in the same county, it took us over an hour to get to this shelter! Why? We found out that Baldwin County is the largest county in Alabama. But this was not a large shelter…by any means. We could see right away however that the staff here makes up for its size in many ways, including their large hearts which drive them to achieve more and more for the animals that need them.
The Baldwin County Humane Society has been in operation since 1979. During that time, fates for homeless and unwanted animals were set. There were no shelters in the county and no voices to speak for the animals. The Baldwin County Humane Society describe themselves as as no-kill adoption agency. They were the first and remain the only county wide animal welfare agency in Baldwin County.
Their goal is to eliminate the number of abused and abandoned pets through spay and neuter, education, rescue and of course adoption. They are not affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States, receive no government funding and rely solely on donations and grants. We knew immediately how deserving they were of help as they work tirelessly with a small staff, small building, and yet the largest area to cover in the state of Alabama. We hope that this article will move our fans to help this shelter continue the large work that they have ahead of them for the long haul.
When we walked through the doors, we didn’t feel any overwhelming sadness, stress or despair from the animals or staff. This was a happy place despite the amount of work it takes to run this shelter. This was a place of hope. This was a place for new beginnings. And having been in operation since 1979 is testament to the people here as well who appreciate where they have come from and where they are going.
We have all heard the saying, “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. And Alabama certainly has a lot of southern sayings! Well, the staff and volunteers here don’t think their task of helping animals in this very large area is not achievable, and they plan to grow and stick around “like hair in a biscuit!”
Stephen Savage, the shelter’s Executive Director is passionate about what he does, getting what needs to be done here with a sense of humor and smile.
He took time out of his busy day to welcome us, answer our questions and share with us the history of this shelter. But any question we could have asked Stephen was answered instead by the animals here who gravitated toward him. It has been said that animals know who are good people. We certainly agree.
Abby Pruet, the shelter’s kind hearted and ambitious Kennel Director, told us that they are reaching their goals by taking steps. Humble beginnings here have taught them how to grow. And we know with Abby’s direction, they will achieve any goal they set out to attain.
Running their efforts out of a small office space for years, they depended on just fosters. However, they decided the need to obtain a building in order to help more animals. They had to learn the ends and outs of how to run a facility and staff accordingly, but they were up for the challenge and knew they could help more animals this way.
All we can say is that they are doing more than a fabulous job. The animals we met were happy. These are the fortunate ones who have landed here.
One of the ways that we pick the shelters or rescues we visit is how well they network their animals through the various social media channels. While this may seem like an “extra” step in a shelter’s adoption success, and something that many shelters don’t have time for, we believe that this is crucial in today’s fast paced world, and for animals to be seen! Despite all that this shelter has to do on a daily basis, the way their Facebook page is run and presented, headed by Abby, should be an example for other shelters around the country.
In the latest episode of Stop Hounding Me you will not only meet Abby and Stephen, but you will meet Sugar! Sugar is a lovable girl, available for adoption through Baldwin County Humane Society, and we are sure that you will agree she would make a great couch potato pawtner! Sugar is a basset hound and lab mix, and we seriously don’t understand why she has not found a home yet!
As with many areas across the country, times are hard economically for persons and therefore, their animals. The Baldwin County Humane Society lovingly works with veterinarians to provide spay and neuter vouchers. This is a service that prevents more animals from ending up in the shelter system.
The Baldwin County Humane Society networks their adoptable animals at local pet supply stores and events. Being active in the community not only gets their animals adopted, but enables them to grow as an organization for the long term and builds trust from their community. They even have a program called Pawsitive Therapy where they bring shelter animals to visit elderly residents in local nursing homes. All of the programs they offer to the community and their animals are based out of real love, caring and kindness.
Is this pawsome or what? This boutique sells furniture and household goods and offers donated upscale items, all to benefit the work of the Baldwin Humane Society. We have to admit, we had to take a look around to make sure there was nothing we couldn’t live without. And there was so much to look at in this well-organized store! It takes imagination and hard work to make a shelter work with innovative ways. And this is definitely a win for everyone!
The Baldwin Humane Society was certainly a shelter we will never forget. Not only was the kindness apparent to us in how they treated the animals under their care, but we could see their mutual respect for each other. And it is because of this simple faucet of the Baldwin Humane Society that we think they are truly special. Truly rare. And we thank them for allowing us to see what kindness can do for a community.
If you are in the large area of Baldwin County, Alabama, you can help by volunteering and fostering. And if you are not in their area, there are still many ways you can help, as shown below. Brickle, Digby, Boy Person and Girl Person thank the Baldwin County Humane Society for all they do and by welcoming us with open arms and paws. We hope to visit again soon.
BALDWIN COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY (BARC!)
P O Box 206
Fairhope, AL 36533
Your gift is tax deductible as a donation to a 501(c)3.
Thank you to Alabama from Brickle and Digby!