With all of the surrounding counties having an animal shelter, it’s odd that Henry County doesn’t. That’s going to change, but be patient. There’s a building to be renovated, an executive director to be hired, a fund-raising campaign to be kicked off, licenses and permits to be obtained, and volunteers to be organized. The best guesstimate is that toward the end of 2023, All God’s Creatures (AGC) will be open, with dogs and cats ready for adoption.

A six-person board is in place consisting of Kathy Nellor, Cyndy Danielson, Kate Ridinger, Ted Wiley, Ann Klingensmith and Ashly Marley. Advertisements have been placed and resumes are coming in for the position of Executive Director. Funds for an animal shelter from the estate of Robert and Esther Shaffer were used to purchase a building at 2205 E. Washington Street in Mt. Pleasant.

AGC is a non-profit organization. Its mission statement: “Connecting the hands and paws of all God’s creatures in Henry County, to build a happier, healthier community.” Their vision is to provide a safe, enriching place for stray and abandoned animals in Henry County while finding them forever homes. AGC wants to provide rewarding volunteer experiences and educational opportunities for residents of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

A private company was hired to conduct a feasibility study to determine if the county was willing to support such an endeavor. The company interviewed 53 area households. The overall results of the study were quite impressive. Yes, the community wanted, needed and would support an animal shelter in Henry County.

Grants were applied for and received. An open house was held at what will be the future location. Santa Claus was at the Festival of Lights for pet pictures. Community support for AGC, and offers for much needed volunteers, were overwhelming.

AGC needs an incredible amount of help to be sustainable. They need to make sure they are producing a service that most everyone can rally around. Youth, veterans, the elderly, disabled, and incarcerated are all groups AGC can work with for the benefit of the animal, individual and community. AGC’s goal is to connect people and animals for the betterment of both, and will be looking for volunteers to help design and operate programs (sort of like herding cats LOL).

There will be volunteer opportunities for youth. They can come in and take dogs for walks, play with kittens, or clean pens and cages. Families can come in together and get the feeling of volunteerism as a family unit. AGC can also bring animals into nursing homes and assisted living facilities to brighten the life of the elderly and the pet.

Another huge service AGC plans to develop is for people going into the hospital or nursing home. AGC wants to provide foster care for the pet so that the pet can visit them in the hospital, and is ready for the person when they come home.

Trap Neuter and Release (TNR) will continue with AGC, under the guidance of Sam Riepe. TNR makes a big difference in the number of strays in the area, and lowers the number of strays coming into the shelter.

AGC is for dogs and cats only. No reptiles please. Although, through AGC’s network, a person who is looking for a home for their parakeet or pet donkey, or wants to adopt such, can utilize AGC’s network of private sanctuaries.

AGC needs your support both physically and financially. This is your animal shelter. Visit their website at www.allgodscreaturesmp.org and Facebook at AllGodsCreaturesMP.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, find him on Facebook, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com, or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.