Category Archives: Good Friends

Calhoun County Canine Shelter - one of our rural Buddies

In June we're featuring rural Iowa shelters, spotlighting their lifesaving efforts on behalf of animals in their communities. First up is Calhoun County Canine Shelter. Not only do they keep local animals safe, they've also thought outside the box - or maybe inside the box - to help animals, and people. Read more below.
 Image result for calhoun county canine shelter
Calhoun County Canine Shelter is a small shelter that began for animal control about 20 yrs ago, as the county had no such program. The program has steadily grown to a small shelter that houses 5 or so dogs at a time. We have gotten several grants and done a few fundraisers and now have indoor/outdoor runs in a dedicated building and even have heated floors! The dogs can go outside as they choose or can stay indoors.
We started working with our local Correctional Facility about 10 years ago and used men who were trained by Leader Dogs for the Blind. When they didn’t have a leader dog they worked with shelter dogs! That not only helped with their skills in dog training but got our adoptable dogs trained and helped them make a better transition into a forever home! We have had many wonderful families and dogs come together this way! Now the Leader Dog program is no longer there and we are able to have about 5 dogs housed out there at one time for training. The dogs are able to stay with their handler until adopted. The men also gain from this program and have learned to give back to society and take great pride in the dogs they put out into families.

Learn more about Calhoun County Canine Shelter here.
Learn more about Leader Dogs for the Blind here.



50 Ways to Help Homeless Animals

puppytHelp them stay out of the shelter in the first place!

  1. Spay and neuter (or fundraise for spay/neuter programs.)
  2. Trap, neuter, return (TNR) feral kitties.
  3. Support your local pet food pantry. You might be surprised who comes to them for help.
  4. Volunteer for (or start) an AniMeals program in your community.
  5. Pitch in at a fencing project so a dog that was on a chain can be safe (and one step closer to indoors.)
  6. Volunteer at a community wellness clinic for pets.
  7. Visit an elementary classroom and talk to young people about being a good friend to animals. Kindness starts early.
    Use Your Talents!
  8. If you can sew, quilt, crochet, knit or even braid, make beds and blankets for homeless animals.
  9.  Good with a hammer and saw? Build a house for cats, paint a dog house or help create a canine obstacle course.
  10.  Offer to take flattering photos of adoptable pets.
  11. Invite your pals over for a cat scratch party. Gather carpet scraps and wood (or whatever tickles your cat fancy) and donate the results.

    1603e7_4536a06b3bd2411caf817ea846adc564Give Your Time

  12. Are you in communications? Write a press release or an opinion piece or a newspaper article about your favorite shelter or rescue.
    Give Your Time
  13. Volunteer to walk, pet, read to or play with animals.
  14. Offer to clean kennels. It’s not fun, but someone has to do it. A clean environment makes for happier, healthier pets.
  15. Help train adoptable pups. A dog that already knows basic commands is going to the more desirable option for families!
  16. Spruce it up! Round up friends of coworkers and offer to have a makeover day. Clean, paint, show off your best handyperson skills.
  17. There are so many small but important tasks to handle that don’t require special knowledge. Pack goodie bags. Make copies. Answer simple email questions. Take down phone messages. Move food. Do laundry. Two hours to you could be life-saving for them. Just ask!
  18. Make kitty safe houses for strays and feral cats. One of the greatest needs for rescues, is people who will regularly help at adoption events. Committing to once a month (or more) means less time spent training for the organization and more confidence for you.
  19. One of the greatest needs for rescues, is people who will regularly help at adoption events. Committing to once a month (or more) means less time spent training for the organization and more confidence for you.

    Collect Stuff

  20. Organize a drive in your school, job, church or neighborhood to collect pet food, blankets, and other supplies.
  21. Give a portion (or all) of the proceeds of your next yard or garage sale to your favorite group.
  22. Ask your employer if you can put out a collection jar. You can even have a competition between departments, floors or ‘friendly’ companies.
  23. See if your company does a match program. Many companies will match their employee’s cash donations – and sometimes time – to a nonprofit.
  24. Partner with a local restaurant to plan and host a ‘foodraiser’ where a percent of revenue, or tips, are donated.
  25. Some grocery stores (and Amazon) will give money to your favorite nonprofit when you shop with them. Does yours?
  26. Jeans day event at work. Talk to your boss to allow employees to wear jeans for a cost, donate that money to a local shelter or rescue.
  27. Fund raise with a bake sale. Work with your neighborhood school or your child’s PTO to organize a bake sale to benefit homeless pets in your community. This is a great way to educate children on the topic, create community buzz around available pets, and help provide funding to the animal organizations that need it most.

    dogDo It From Home

  28. Foster a mama dog and her puppies. Nobody wants to have their babies in a scary shelter! Plus, puppies!
  29. Bottle feed newborn kittens. Sometimes these babies end up without their mom and they need a bit of extra care.
  30. Educate. Share your knowledge – politely, and when asked (of course). Explain why spay and neuter is important, why microchips are lifesaving, why heartworm prevention is so important, why dogs need to be socialized and why kitties are healthier when they live indoors.
  31. Distribute flyers for low-cost spay and neuter programs to residents in low-income neighborhoods.
  32. Challenge a senior community or church group to craft pet beds to donate to shelters.
  33. When you replace your gently used leash and collars, donate them.
  34. If you’re changing your bedroom décor, give old comforters and blankets to the animals.
  35. Gather all those single socks, fill them with empty plastic water bottles and give them to your local shelter. Dogs love to crunch them!

    Do It Online

  36. Ask local grocery or box stores if they’ll donate ripped bags of pet food which you can then collect monthly and deliver to pantries in the area.
  37. Thank the people who do the daily work. A simple “thanks for all you do!” on a Facebook page can do wonders on a hard day.
  38. Share an adoptable pet on social media. We’d all love to have time and resources for unlimited dogs and cats, but the reality is we don’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t share. You never know which of your friends might be looking to add to the family.
    Give From Your Heart
  39. A post with a lot of ‘likes’ is judged to be ‘valuable’ by Facebook’s algorithms so don’t feel bad liking!
  40. Every dollar counts. If you don’t have much in the way of extra funds, collect recyclables and return for cash, then donate.
  41. Save your change and every quarter convert it to bills to donate.
  42. We all know a cat’s favorite toy is the nearest box, but they like balls and toy mice too. Consider picking some up at the dollar store.
  43. Buy BOGO Bowl and feed a homeless dog or cat without any extra time or cost on your part. Easy peasy!
  44. Support pet-friendly businesses. Many companies try to help by contributing items to fundraisers or collecting donations.
  45. Give an adoption gift certificate to a friend looking for a new pet!
  46. Sponsor a pet – especially an animal that will need to stay longer such as a senior or a medical case.

    Road Trip

  47. Drop off new water or food bowls.
  48. Like to drive? Sometimes an adoptable animal is in one place and his new family is another (like BOGO Bowl dog Chance who came to Des Moines from Topeka). Offer to drive a leg of a transport!
  49. You don’t have to drive long distances to help on transports. Some legs are just an hour or two!
    There’s even a group that transports dogs in privately-owned small planes. Have one?
    Money isn't everything
  50. Be a good role model. Show the world how animals should be treated. You never know who’s watching!

    And of course...Image result for dog in a shelter cage holding hand

  51. Well, duh. Adopt!


Dog has been man's best friend for thousands of years. They've been loyal friends, protectors, alarm clocks, fire alarms, life vests, walking sticks, psychiatrists, exercise partners, cuddlers, just about anything you can think of dogs will do for you. Dogs have been known to jump in the path of danger and lay down their lives for their best friends. Here are some tails that belonged to dogs that put their lives on the line to save their human's tails!

Mr. Rivera and Dorado

During the 9/11 tragedy Mr. Rivera was trapped in the World Trade Center. Mr. Rivera is blind and relies on Dorado, a two year old Labrador retriever and guide dog. When the plane crashed into the building Mr. Rivera thought he would never make it down 70 floors alive.DORADO

"I thought I was lost forever—the noise and the heat were terrifying—but I had to give Dorado the chance of escape. So I unclipped his lead, ruffled his head, gave him a nudge and ordered Dorado to go,” Mr. Rivera said.

But then Dorado did something unexpected. After several minutes Dorado returned to his owner. Dorado guided his owner down 70 flights of stairs, down to the street. It took the pair and another co-worker of Mr. Rivera an hour to make it down to the street. Shortly after they made it down the tower collapsed.

Herbert and BoydyBOYD

Herbert Schutz, a 76 year old man, found himself in a terrible situation on one gloomy night in Australia. Schutz crashed his car after hitting a tree and became pinned beneath the vehicle. The man was trapped for four days, but thankfully he had his dog Boydy with him.

Schutz “was adamant his dog saved his life.” Boydy laid across Schutz in an attempt to keep him warm. Finally Schutz was found four days later with a fractured skull, two broken hips and a dislocated shoulder and was rushed to the hospital to begin recovery.

Emma and CrackersCRACKERS

Emma Iverson, a 79 year old woman from Minnesota, knows her dog Crackers was her angel the night she fell and couldn’t get up. Iverson was on the ground for 20 hours with her dog at her side. She remembers him repeatedly chasing raccoons and coyotes that came around away.

Finally, the next day her postal carrier found her. Iverson spent nine days in the hospital for a full recovery, all thanks to her spunky dog Crackers.

Ian and Monty

Ian Thomas, a 64 year old man, found himself knocked unconscious from a lightning bolt. Thomas was out feeding his chickens, goats and a donkey. He was holding a metal bowl when the bolt shot through the bowl and up to his hands and head. The only way Thomas survived instant death is he was wearing rubber-soled willies on his hands.

When Thomas came to he saw his dog Monty standing by him. Thomas got up allowing Monty to take some of his weight. Thomas leaned on Monty as he guided him the whole 100 yards home, where he was rushed to the hospital.  MONTY

“I use Monty quite often as a prop or walking stick when I am out of breath. I say to him, ‘Help me, help me’ and he comes to heel. This was a case of, ‘Help me, help me’ and there he was, God bless him. I just trusted my instincts, reached out and grabbed hold of him. I was able to use him to drag myself up and back to the house,” Thomas said.

These are just a few courageous stories of a dog doing anything to ensure the safety of their owners. Dogs have been known to sacrifice anything for their owners; maybe that’s why we call dogs our best friend.

Sources: Huffington Post, The Sun and