Sometime back, around 1996, Willie Morris emceed a dog show and adopt-a-thon right in Banner Hall’s own Lemuria Bookstore. 10 dogs with colorful bandanas sashayed over the green carpet to the easy crooning of our dear Willie, a ham of a performer and a dog-lover himself. Most of the dogs got adopted that day, and mostly to the employees. It was a feel-good event for everyone and for dogs sheltered at the city of Jackson Animal Shelter, located across WLBT at the time (now located at 140 Outer Circle).
It’s amazing how much sheltering and rescuing is going on around this city. Jackson has two no-kill shelters, CARA and ARF. Then we have the Mississippi Animal Rescue League in a beautiful almost new building housing everything from dogs and cats to pigs, birds and horses or anything else brought their way. Of course, there is my own volunteer group, Jackson Friends of the Animal Shelter, the support group for the city pound or City of Jackson Animal Shelter. There is Cheshire Abbey, a foster and rescue group without a building of its own. And if you go to www.petfinder.com, you will find quite a few small groups doing what they can to save specific breeds. It’s totally amazing how many more animals are being saved due to these shelters, the tireless volunteers, the individuals who pick strays up off the streets, vet them and find them homes.
My favorite phone calls are those that go like this: “I’m looking for a dog for my mother who lives alone or for a family whose kids are looking for a four (or three) legged best friend”. It’s a heartwarmer to see a family meet their new best friend at the city shelter on Sunday afternoons when all the volunteers are there from 1 to 3, washing, bathing, playing with, feeding dogs and cats. And the volunteers keep coming, new ones every week. The fellowship is extraordinary.
So talking about Jackson to me is sharing the good news that homeless furry friends stand a much better chance of a second chance than they did, say, just 10 years ago. There’s still a lot to do. And doing it together gathers so many people of all races and ages throughout our city. All for the love of dogs. . .and cats, too.
It’s not too late to give a home to an animal who needs some love this Christmas!
Written by Pat
Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com.