Difficult times don't just fall on people, they also fall on our four-legged friends. And in this event, the Verde Valley is experiencing both.
When the new Board of Directors took the reins of the Verde Valley Humane Society, (rebranded as the Adopt For Life Center For Animals) in late 2011, we were facing a financial deficit of over $70,000. With drive and vision, the board along with a passionate executive director, have been able to reduce that deficit by nearly half. But it's just not enough.
AFLCFA is a non-profit animal shelter with the goal to provide compassionate care and adoption services for the Verde Valley's lost, abused and abandoned cats and dogs.
We provide housing, spay/neutering, veterinary care, animal training and empathetic service for our temporary pets. Our adoptions have been extremely successful and increasing over these 12-plus months and we have been able to place hundreds of cats and dogs in loving homes.
At one point last summer, we had over 100 cats in our shelter, yet we have never had to euthanize a homeless pet for space.
We have a thrift store with the goal to provide needed income to offset our costs and though it is finally running in the black, more improvement is needed as it continues to move forward. We also participate in many public events to make ourselves known in the valley and to give back.
The services we provide are necessary in every community. Yet, the operation of our shelter does come at a price.
And while the City of Cottonwood has been extremely generous and the Towns of Clarkdale and Jerome have also funded our efforts, which we are tremendously grateful for, we need your help as well.
This isn't the usual, "donate to your local charity" request you read so often this time of year. This is a cry for help from the AFLCFA Board to you, the public, to keep our doors open.
We have done a great deal this past year to bring the shelter back into the community. Our terrific "Cruizin' For The Critters" motorcycle ride and the incredible generosity shown at the second annual "Wet Nose Wednesday" spear-headed by Julie Shoup have been instrumental in supporting us.
We loved having a booth at the Brian Mickelsen Marathon, National Night Out and Walkin' On Main Street events, and became a unique team walking at the all night "Relay For Life" cancer awareness event, and we continue to support such events in our communities. And though we didn't raise a lot of money, we had a great time at our first annual Fur Ball, the "Rock'N'Rover" dance. It has been great fun and rewarding to be able to reconnect and become an integral part of our communities once again.
Yet with that, we are reaching out to you to help us to continue these endeavors. When all the fun is done, the celebrations end and the lights get turned off, the reason behind it all, first and foremost, is that we care for those that cannot care for themselves. Our abandoned, abused and homeless pets.
As we struggle through these financially difficult times, please remember them. We need your help. And they need you.
Kyla Allen is the president of the Adopt For Life Center For Animals board of directors.