Fund-raiser helps local animal shelter
One man's dream of opening a new animal shelter in DeSoto is gaining momentum.
Bob Allison began his quest for a new shelter several months ago after he opened his newspaper and fell in love. He said the object of his affection had four legs and a bad haircut.
"There was an article in the paper about the dog shelter here in town and a picture of (animal control officer) Anne Davis," he said. "One of the dogs in the picture looked just like a dog I used to have that has since died. I just felt like crying."
Allison called Davis the following day and went to see the dog face to face.
"I walked around the corner and it was like my dog was sitting there. She even had the same characteristics as my old dog," he said.
Knowing his wife wouldn't be thrilled with the idea of bringing a new pet home, Allison said he "tricked" her into going to the shelter to take a look at the dog. It didn't take her long to figure out what her husband was up to.
"I took her out to eat at the Kill Creek Pub first and I was going to break it to her there.
"After a few minutes, she said 'This is about a dog, isn't it,'" Allison said. "Then she just broke down crying."
He took his wife to meet the dog and she too fell in love, he said. They decided not to adopt the dog at that time, however, because they did not have a fenced yard.
"We bought dog food for her and took her down to get her hair cut. She just looked awful when we first saw her," he said.
A few weeks later the dog was transferred to the Lawrence Humane Society. Davis often checks with the Lawrence shelter when she runs out of room at the small DeSoto shelter.
Allison said goodbye and hoped she would soon find a good home. She soon did.
"I finally made so many promises to my wife that she agreed to take her in," he said. "In July she let me adopt her for my birthday."
The ordeal opened his eyes to the animal control problem facing his hometown, he said..
He said he was shocked when he first found out that DeSoto had an animal shelter and then disheartened to learn it was so small.
Allison took his plea for help to the DeSoto Chamber of Commerce. During a monthly meeting, he urged his fellow members to donate cat and dog food to the shelter.
Soon after, he got a phone call from a local businessman, Dick Brazukas and a letter from artist, Joan Silver.
"Dick said he would help me raise money to build a bigger shelter," he said. "Then Joan wrote me a letter and offered to set up a booth at the Watermelon Festival to sell her artwork. She offered to give half her proceeds to the shelter fund."
Community involvement grew from there, Allison said.
"Then Denny Hougham of Doc and Bruties offered to help," he said. "Those guys deserve a lot of credit. The do so much for the community."
The group organized a fundraiser at the restaurant with Hougham supplying the food and Brazukas donating the beer proceeds.
Allison said the group hopes to raise enough money to construct a small building with room for about six dog runs and an exercise yard.
"We've been told there is no room in the city budget for even buy the land, so we hope someone will come forward and donate a small piece of land for the project," he said.
Still in the early stages, Allison said he doesn't know exactly how much money the group would need to complete the project.
"That's something we're still looking into," he said.
Anyone interested in helping with the project can contact Brazukas at Mike's Liquor Store.