Just over a month ago, on Halloween, I was invited to participate in an event for the SweetPea Friends of Rutland Animal Shelter in Paxton, MA. It was the first annual Halloween Spooktacular – a fun filled day of shopping, trick-or-treating, costume contests and more for people and their pets. It was my first time meeting most of the people involved with this shelter – people who are truly passionate about animals and their well-being. It was a happy day for one of the only true no-kill shelters in Massachusetts.
The joy that was felt that day was met with unspeakable tragedy last week. For those who do not know, a devastating fire ripped through the shelter overnight on November 23rd, killing all but four dogs and two cats. Thirteen dogs and thirty-three cats were lost in the blaze.
Today I ask for your help. I consider the community we have built here at loyalpitbulllove.com a family, and can say undoubtedly that the folks at SweetPea are a family too, filled with some of the most compassionate and loving animal rescue folks I have ever come across. The shelter has never turned its back on an animal, and now we need to make sure we do not turn our backs on the shelter.
There are a number of ways we can help SweetPea get back on its feet and give more animals a chance they would not otherwise have. One thing we can all do is vote daily in the Shelter Challenge here. This will cost you nothing but a moment of your time each day. For those who live in the area, the shelter is holding a Photos with Santa event on Sunday December 6th. There is also a Road to Recovery benefit in Worcester, MA on December 20th, an online t-shirt sale and a bandana fundraiser. For the month of December, Juno's Place is also doing a t-shirt sale for SweetPea. In addition, the shelter is posting an ever changing wish list on its Facebook page. Monetary donations can be made here.
The heartbreak and devastation felt by those who knew and loved these animals will be with them forever and while the lives that were lost can never be replaced, we can honor them by helping the shelter rebuild and save other animals in their names. To all the folks involved with the shelter and the brave firefighters who risked their lives to save the animals, please know you are in our thoughts today. Words will never be enough.