October 18, 2012
When I went to ARF to walk a few dogs, complete my school service hours, I didn't know it would change my life. Baxter was the first of many unforgettable furry friends I would make. He was covered in scars from his time as a bait dog for pit bull fighting. They used him because he wouldn't fight. Baxter is a good example of why ARF exists. Many shelters won't take chances on a bully dog, no matter how sweet. But at ARF, he was welcomed, bandaged, and loved. I said I'd keep coming back just to see Baxter. But I learned that this was the plight of animals in Delaware County at the time. Starved, shot, burned, left to mange and heartworm, dumped in the cruelest ways imaginable, and then left to an uncaring animal control system. ARF was there to heal them, body and spirit. And if they couldn't make the journey to a family because they were so badly broken, they had a home at the farmhouse to live our their days with love. And in addition to taking in little guys like Otter, his back broken by a careless owner's misstep, ARF advocated for change in the community. It has trained hundreds of volunteers in caring for and speaking up for animals, and has been instrumental in progress that's being made in the city's shelter system. As for me, it motivated me to make a career out of doing good. After graduation, I got my master's degree in non-profit management and am the executive director at a small non-profit in Nashville, Tennessee. Not a day goes by that I don't think about running with Honey the overexcited greyhound or laying in the crate with my shy guy Jack, about the joy of reuniting old blind Angel with her family after four months or the heartbreak of losing sweet Iris to parvovirus. It's been a few years since I left Muncie, but I keep up on the goings on at the dog house and Catty Shack. There's nowhere in the world like ARF. It helped Baxter find his home, and so many of us lost humans find our place in the world, too.
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