Meet Dolores. This woman cares, and she backs that care up with action. This is one of the many bake sales she has done this year, and she also puts together rummage sales, silent auctions and sponsored raffles for her undertaking.
"All for what?" you may ask, but before we get into that I want to thank the grocery stores in Wrangell. See Dolores selling food inside a grocery store? There are two grocery stores, and both allow people to use precious floor space to have fund raising tables. Very cool, and a big thank-you!
Four years ago Wrangell had a big problem with stray and feral cats. Dolores created St. Frances Animal Rescue and started working to take care of cats and dogs that were not living good lives. She works with individuals, businesses, and the Wrangell Police Department to bring animals into her shelter. She then makes sure that they are healthy and spayed or neutered. After that she looks for good homes for them to be adopted into. It is not all easy work, and can be overwhelming at times.
Once, Dolores was asked to help find homes for many dogs that were rescued. Dolores swung into action, finding people in Ketchikan, Haines, and Skagway who wanted to adopt the dogs. Transporting the dogs was complicated since Wrangell is on an island. There are no roads to the other communities. Skagway is over 200 miles from Wrangell, and it is still in Southeast Alaska. Dolores put a call out for pet carriers so that the dogs and puppies could be transported on a local transportation carrier.
I visited Dolores at her shelter. She and her husband have dedicated their entire garage; turning it into a cat shelter like I have never seen before. The first thing I noticed is that there are large cages, but most of them are open. The kitties are calm and happy; wandering, napping, and watching for a chance to love up a person. They have high perches and places for a little seclusion. There are soft towels and blankets for them to nap on, and a row of covered privies. The shelter is the kind of clean that comes of consistent care and effort. There is not a cat or kitty litter smell at all.
While I was looking at a kitty happily reclining in a towel hammock there was a knock on the door. A woman handed a bag of canned cat food to Dolores. Every donation helps St. Frances Animal Rescue continue providing a valuable service.
Dolores told me the name and history of each cat currently in the shelter. She knows all of them personally, which I find amazing considering that she has rescued 467 cats over a span of four years. Yes, four-hundred and sixty-seven. 53 cats came from one location when a homeowner asked Dolores for help. St. Frances Animal Rescue has also rescued 167 dogs and 2 bunnies. Some of the animals have made more than one visit to the shelter. If Dolores finds out that a cat or dog is being abused then she brings it back in, and brings it back to health.
“It helps that I know everyone in town,” she laughs.
I felt a polite tap on my shoulder and turned to see a pair of beautiful eyes and hear a deep, rumbling purr. The kitty leaned its head against me, and I stroked its silky back. Many of the cats were very loving, and so beautiful. All were well groomed, and a joy to pet. They returned the love with sweet purrs.
Dolores and I were still talking as we went outside. She showed me the dog run and dog houses that she and her husband built. It is a big, clean space.
I am very happy that there are people in Wrangell with this much care and dedication. Thanks, Dolores, for giving each of us something to aspire to.
I feel good about donating to St. Frances Animal Rescue. If you are outside of Wrangell and would like to donate then mail to: St. Frances Animal Rescue, Wrangell, AK 99929. It is a registered non-profit and donations are tax deductible.
There are currently fifteen sweet kitties available for adoption at St. Frances Animal Rescue.