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A Letter From Our Board President

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Almost Home Animal Rescue is a community driven effort to care for homeless pets in Lucas and Wayne Counties.

We are excited to have you join us on our journey to get an animal shelter re-opened!

The previous shelter closed in August 2022, leaving Lucas and Wayne counties without a licensed animal shelter. After many Facebook comments and conversations, we decided this is something our community wants and needs - so thank you for being here with us!

It feels like it's been a long road, but as you can imagine, there's a lot of legalities that go into running a non-profit and even more that go into turning over a non-profit to a new board of directors. But I'm proud to say that our team is still diligently working away to make this dream a reality. We know it's something our communities need. As of January 2023, we officially have "control" over the organization - assets, building remodels, and more!

So where are we now?

As of July 24, 2023, we are still working towards an official re-opening date! Our focus right now is to get the building up to code and ready for animals. (As you can imagine, it's easier to tear out a drop ceiling without cats trying to explore the new areas!) We are all incredibly anxious about getting the shelter open so we can start serving our communities again, but right now, our focus has to remain on getting the building ready so we can keep our furry friends safe until they find their forever homes.

In the meantime, we are making extensive repairs to the building, including:

  • Replacing kennel gates - the previous gates were rusted and had sharp/jagged edges. Besides wanting to fix this issue so dogs are safe, it is also a state requirement that no rust, sharp edges, gaping holes, etc. be present in the gates. We are incredibly thankful to South Central Iowa Community Foundation for providing the funds to make these necessary repairs.

  • Replacing drop ceiling - I'll save you the details, but the current ceilings are full of not-so-fun things. Therefore the ceilings in the two cat rooms and lobby need to be removed, insulation and all, and new installed.

  • Renovating cleaning room - There are quite a few code violations in the room currently used to bathe dogs, wash dishes, and more. Thankfully, we have secured funding from Clarke Electric Co-op and Community 1st Credit Union Foundation to address these issues.

  • Sealing cracks in the floors and putting an epoxy coat on the floors in the kennels. Doing this will ensure the paint in our kennels holds up better from the daily wear and tear they are sure to receive.

  • Cleaning up yard - There are many large branches, tree trunks, limbs, and more in our outdoor play yard. Once the weather gets nicer, we are going to organize another work day to get all of the yard waste cleaned up!

  • ...and so many more "smaller" things

It has taken us a bit longer than we had initially hoped, but our board also decided it was important to us that we are responsible with our money. For this reason, we opted to save our funding for operations (salaries, utilities, etc.) and write grants for building repairs - and we've been incredibly successful! With almost $10,000 in grants, we've secured funding for repairing our kennel gates, purchasing stainless steel tables/grooming equipment, and making other building repairs. That's $10,000 that we didn't have to pull from our own account!

We are also fortunate to have received a grant from Paint Iowa Beautiful, which has allowed us to buy paint for the exterior of the building. We hope to set up a community work day soon to complete this task, but we would also like to avoid the heat of the summer.

Once we get the repairs done that we know are necessary for re-opening (kennel gates and cleaning room), we can apply for an inspection. No animal shelter is allowed to operate without being inspected and approved by Iowa's Department of Ag. This can take up to 60 days to happen following our request for inspection and if they should come back with any concerns, those would have to be addressed before we could open. So, to answer the ever-present question of "when are you opening?" the short answer is we aren't sure. But we promise, as soon as we can get those doors open, we will be shouting from the rooftops!

Although we all go through roller coasters of emotions - one day we're excited and ambitious and the next day we feel overwhelmed - the one thing I can assure you is that our group is 100% dedicated to seeing this project through. We will not quit until the doors are re-opened and homeless pets in our community are safe. But we can't do it alone and the tremendous support we've already received from our community has been almost overwhelming! Thank you for supporting our fundraisers. Thank you for keeping us in mind for physical donations like cat towers, kennels, and more! But most importantly, thank you for believing in this cause as much as we do.

If you see any of our Board members in the community, I would encourage you to chat with us! We have an open-door policy and are happy to answer any questions or address comments. Our community is our strongest partner and is the driving force behind our mission.

Thank you for being part of our story!

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Thank you for update, so grateful for all your efforts!

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