Mecosta County Animal Rescue Coalition celebrates 9th anniversary

BIG RAPIDS – Caring for cats and dogs and providing them with a happy life is an important part of being a pet owner, and a Mecosta County organization celebrated nine years of finding pet homes in the region .

On October 1, the Animal Rescue Coalition of Mecosta County commemorated its ninth anniversary and seeks to continue caring for animals in need for years to come. Describes itself as a group of concerned animal lovers who came together in 2011 in hopes of improving the lives of dogs and cats and has welcomed thousands of animals since opening.

Cate Arroe, director of the ARC, said the organization was born out of the dedication of locals who want to help lost animals find their owners, abused animals find a more loving life and find forever homes for them. adoptable animals.

“Nine years ago the former owner of the Mecosta County Shelter decided to retire and therefore asked people to submit proposals for a new shelter and we ended up winning this proposal,” Arroe said. . “Since our opening, we could not have continued to survive without the support of our community. They are phenomenal and anytime we post that we run out of food, trash, and supplies people will immediately bring or send donations and we will never be deprived of everything we need. “

The Mecosta County ARC, located at 18400 220th Avenue in Big Rapids, is home to both dogs and cats. The building has two outdoor exercise areas for dogs, as well as two open areas for cats to provide a stress-free environment.

The organization has welcomed nearly 3,000 dogs and 1,200 cats since its inception in 2011 and continues to increase this number each month.

Arroe said community supplies and monetary donations have helped the organization, its volunteers and staff continue to provide the quality care animals deserve.

“Our vet bills can exceed $ 30,000 a year, and people support us financially and we never have to make a decision about a pet and whether or not we can fix their medical problem,” Arroe said. “We have always been able to make every dog ​​and cat as comfortable as possible with the help of the community. Before we opened, I wasn’t planning on having an animal shelter, so it kind of fell on my knees, and I’ve learned a lot over the past nine years without having worked in a shelter before that. .

“The most important thing when we look back at all the cats and cats that came in and our doors, we got a lot of nostalgia because we took care and loved each of them,” she added.

The CRA will accept animals regardless of age or breed and will assess allegedly aggressive animals, but will not accept feral cats. The organization functions as a no-kill refuge where no animals are euthanized due to lack of space.

Throughout the nine years the ARC has been open, the organization has received many positive reviews about adoptions and the relocation of their resident cats and dogs.

Christian Harr, a resident of Big Rapids, said he and his wife’s decision to adopt a cat from the organization two years ago ended up being an eye-opening experience.

“My wife and I adopted our cat Tomahawk from the Mecosta CRA on September 21, 2019,” Harr said. “I was never a cat person growing up, but my wife was. She convinced me to adopt a cat and when we went to the ARC all the cats were walking around but Tomahawk was hiding in a box. We leaned over to look inside and he was there, and he came out and followed us around.

“We knew then that he had chosen us,” he added. “He made me change my mind about cats and couldn’t ask for a better companion. Tomahawk loves everyone who comes and is now the star of his own Facebook page.

Another ARC adopter, Nicole SanCartier, said adopting her dog Mohalo seven years ago has changed her life for the better.

“One summer day in 2013, I stopped to see who was sheltering at the ARC and learned that a litter of puppies had arrived not too long ago,” said SanCartier. “They opened the kennel door and a litter ran free over me, licking and playing. A puppy remained in the crate. Whoever opened the door took the rest of the litter back into the kennel and a little one came out and lay on my lap, and I was picked. His name is Mohalo and I’m so grateful that I stopped by the CRA that day, it was supposed to be.

The organization currently has nine cats available for adoption and 10 dogs available for adoption. The shelter will often have a wide variety of dog and cat breeds at any given time, and according to Arroe, the pandemic has actually helped many of their animals quickly find forever homes.

“The ones who are most memorable to us are the ones who come out of sadder situations and are able to recover and find homes,” Arroe said. “Dogs and cats are either mistreated, neglected or frightened by people and thanks to all the love our volunteers give to these animals we are able to make them adoptable. We are a thriving shelter and were able to function as a shelter without killing, and before we opened other shelters we often weren’t accepting cats so we were able to do that.

Arroe said COVID-19 impacted their volunteer numbers, but increased their adoption rates.

“Really we are doing very well and generally before COVID-19 we would have about 100 volunteers at a time which has declined due to the pandemic but we hope to get back to where we were,” she said. added. “The only good thing I can say about COVID-19 is that everyone felt lonely, so our dogs and cats flew out of the shelter. I think they made everyone’s life more bearable during the pandemic when people were alone, and people asked if we had any of these animals back and we didn’t. “

“People don’t just keep them temporarily, and at one point we ran into two dogs in the shelter due to the quality of our adoptions,” she added. “It’s a positive thing that we saw during the pandemic. As for donations, we can always use monetary donations and supplies for our animals, as well as foster homes for kittens and shelter volunteers which we can always use more and appreciate.

The Mecosta ARC is open from 9 am to noon from Tuesday to Friday; 5 pm-7pm, 10 am-1pm Saturdays; and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The organization is in constant need of pet supplies including puppy pads, cat litter, especially recycled paper pellets, Purina cat food, nylabones, sweet dog treats, dog food and Purina puppies, Purina kitten food and cat treats. The only dog ​​toys the organization uses are nylabones and tennis balls.

About Chuck Keeton

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