Tara the dog is hard at play at the Humane Society of Louisiana's no-kill shelter in Tylertown, Miss. She's been there since Hurricane Katrina, as has the evacuation facility turned long-term shelter she's in, both unintentionally.
“We evacuated all the animals up there, then we were hit with tons of animals coming from the city, tons of volunteers," said Johnna Harris, the animal services director for the Humane Society of Louisiana.
Because the New Orleans shelter was destroyed and there was no money to rebuild, emergency operations became permanent operations, which are still make-shift eight years after the storm.
"It's been trying,” said Brenda Dyson, who helps take care of the animals. “And without the donations that we have gotten from generous people, we couldn't have done this."
Back across the state line, the Humane Society has recently acquired 47 acres in Mt. Hermon, with help from one of those big donors. This will become the Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary, which hopefully will put Katrina in the past once and for all, for the staff and the animals.
"We've sort of envisioned a dog area over there with indoor/outdoor runs and a day play yard for socialization, and the horses need run-ins and a barn," Harris said. “We'll move some of our more adoptable cats, so we'd like a few cat cottages."
Even though the Humane Society has big plans for this property, they say that won't become reality without help from you, whether it be donations, time or expertise.
"Everybody likes a happy ending and that's kind of what we're all about is trying to figure out how to get the happy ending," said Harris.
The organization has faith the community will help bring that happily ever after to fruition.
The organization is holding an open house to show off the property to the public Saturday. Guests are invited to join the Humane Society crew for refreshments from noon to 5 p.m. at 31058 Hwy. 1055 in Mt. Hermon.
The property is on Hwy. 1055 near the intersection with Hwy. 438 on the east side of Mt. Hermon proper, not near the Tangipahoa Parish line on Hwy. 1055 where many GPS devices direct you to.
Donors wanting to make a special holiday donation towards opening the sanctuary can send checks to the Humane Society of Louisiana at PO Box 740321, New Orleans, LA 70174, noting that the gift is for the Enoch J. Donaldson Animal Sanctuary. Donations may also be made online at www.HumaneLA.org/.
Founding members of the sanctuary are now being sought at various levels of sponsorship support.