April 2013 marked the two-year anniversary of the opening of A Time 4 Paws Adoption Center. A Time 4 Paws (AT4P) is a no kill animal welfare organization operates the adoption center as an alternative to abandoning and/or destroying unwanted animals. With their programs they assist an average of more than 500 animal families per year.
As a non-profit organization, AT4P relies on donations, grants and volunteers to operate. Often recipients of the services and resources from AT4P become volunteers for the organization. Volunteers are needed for different aspects of the operation such as web site design, landscaping, animal transport, home visits, special events, fostering and grant writing.
Karen McMeekin, president and founder of AT4P, feels there are many residents and businesses in the area that truly care about the welfare of animals.
"By working together we can assist those people and animals in need," she said.
Volunteers of AT4P work very hard to share the "no kill" philosophy.
"I believe that education is the key," said McMeekin, "starting from the volunteers to the community and government officials."
Killing unwanted animals because there is not enough shelter space or homes is a thing of the past. Animal rescue organizations across the United States are embracing the "no kill equation" and finding alternatives to killing. One of the future goals of AT4P is to create a sanctuary where animals are cared for long term through the Compassionate Care Program until adopted or pass away naturally according to the owner's wishes.
AT4P has been developing a program helping pets and their people called Safer Alternatives from Euthanasia (SAFE). SAFE offers resources to those in desperate situations who may not be able to care for their pets. The situations may range from frustration with animal behavioral issues, relocation, pet owner death and, in extreme cases, desperate financial problems. AT4P can assist with training, food, fencing or animal housing. By offering people education, a sympathetic ear and alternatives to surrender, they often find a way to keep their pets.
AT4P will take donations of fencing, leashes, collars, flea /tick treatments, etc. and recycle them back into the community. Currently, AT4P is assisting one family that had more than 30 cats and dogs. Lack of education, finances and a pet owner death caused this caring family to become overwhelmed. Bottom line: sometimes people need help to care for their pets.
AT4P is also focused on ending animal abuse in the community.
"Animal cruelty is a crime and is punishable by law," stated McMeekin. "We ask people to get involved and report animal cruelty of any kind to the proper authorities."
The city and county authorities have separate offices. The city phone number is 484-6991 and the county phone number is 456-9873. The number of phone calls regarding animal abuse and neglect received at AT4P is alarming. Often the callers wish to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. The animal cruelty laws in Cumberland County may seem inadequate but they must be enforced. To reach the Cumberland County Animal Shelter, call 484-8525.
April was National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month. McMeekin and several volunteers held a successful rally on the Cumberland County Courthouse lawn to bring attention to the issues involving animal cruelty. AT4P participates at several community events including the fourth annual Bikers Against Animal Cruelty Ride this summer, Fairfield Glade Craft Fair and the Cumberland County Fair.
AT4P welcomes volunteer applications. Volunteer training is held the third Saturday of every month at the adoption center on Old Jamestown Hwy. AT4P needs caring and compassionate people who can give a few hours per week or possibly foster a pet in their home.
The organization relies primarily on donations to operate. Net profits from the Pet Boarding Hotel, which is operated by AT4P, are used to cover some costs. Recently, AT4P won the Cumberland Toyota Challenge on Facebook as well as received a large amount of animal supplies from the Dixie Pageant held at the Palace Theatre earlier this year.
Supplies and monetary donations can be dropped off at the adoption center. Bleach, Pine Sol, cat litter, Trifexis and Revolution and laundry detergent are some of the necessary items. Other items like pet food, treats, leashes, collars and fencing are used for programs like Animeals, fostering and SAFE. In addition, land is needed for the long-term care sanctuary planned for the future.
AT4P thanks the generous people who shop at Food City, Kroger and Tractor Supply and contribute regularly to the Animeals home delivered pet food/pet supply program by placing donations in the big blue barrels. Recently, Happy Hound Realty held a fundraiser to benefit AT4P at their office. AT4P also received a donated van from a Cumberland County resident that helps in transporting animals.
Visit the adoption center at 463 Jamestown Hwy. (next to Sonic) Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 3 p.m. AT4P can be reached at 787-0610 or www.at4p.org. Monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 2982, Crossville, TN 38557. For Pet Boarding Hotel information, call 707-9889.