(Webmaster’s Note: A silent auction will be conducted at the Dino Challenge Oldtime Strongman Contest in January, with all proceeds going to the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter. This groups efforts are very noble, and by having this auction we may be able to help them just a little. Lots of GREAT THINGS will be in the auction – from some of the Dino Gym’s unique pieces of equipment to donated items from the Dino Strength product line. There is no entry fee for the Challenge, but plan on bringing some money for the auction. Fellow Dino Gym member and training partner Mark Mitchell has shared information with us regarding the compassionate vision of the Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter. – by Al Myers)
by Mark Mitchell
The Friends of the Salina Animal Shelter was formed in February 2007 by Molly Reusser. Her initial intent was to spearhead a group of animal lovers who wanted to pet some dogs but was she in for a big surprise-she had not met Laura Mitchell,Julie Coble,Shannon Kingsley and Trish Hayden yet!! Laura and I have been going to an animal rescue ranch in Kanab Utah called Best Friends for several years to volunteer taking care of some 5000 plus rescued dogs,cats,horses,donkeys etc… combined and we knew how a first rate shelter should be operated. Now,we had a chance to do some of the same things with animals in our own back yard! Of course,my wife and friends never do anything with half effort and we immediately jumped in to socialize the dogs and cats in the Salina Shelter and pushed hard to get them adopted locally.
Then, we started looking at the figures regarding euthanized former pets and we were astounded. What could we do to change those numbers? Group member Julie Coble went out on a mission to help solve this. What she found has become a big lifesaver for some 500 dogs just this past year. It is called the Rescue Waggin and it is operated through Petsmart charities. Now,one would have thought our local animal shelter staff would have fallen all over themselves, thanking Julie for this wonderful idea and jumped right on our band wagon(our volunteer group,though working hand in hand with the animal shelter staff,is a separate entity). Alas,no. We were met with big resistance. Did this deter us? No,it did not. A few of us decided to pool our own money together,adopt several dogs we selected,drive a rented cargo van to Denver or Boulder Colorado to Dumb Friends and the Boulder Humane Society and pay transfer fees there because we had heard dogs get adopted in huge numbers from these facilities(Rescue Waggin now takes our dogs to Boulder). We spent thousands of dollars each for quite some time.
Finally,the powers that be saw that we were not a threat and that our intentions were good. It also did not hurt that we,as volunteers,agreed to do all of the work regarding bringing the Rescue Waggin to Salina(we are the only shelter in the nation that uses volunteers to coordinate the Rescue Waggin operation). And what a work load it has been!! From getting volunteers trained and certified to be behavior specialsts,contracting with local vets to do the health checks to coordinating all of these efforts with the Rescue Waggin personnel(that would be my dear wife Laura’s role!!) But it has been worth all of the hassles!! Think of it. Five hundred great lives and wonderful pets spared and matched with loving families in Colorado just this past year!
Our volunteers put in long hours. We are not just about the Rescue Waggin. We still provide love and care to the dogs and cats who do not qualify for transport. We are involved in fund raisers,special adoption months,hay bale giveaways for all of our outdoor furry friends. The list goes on and on. Our group is amazed and gracious that the Dino Gym has selected us for charitable contributions at the Dino Gym Old Time Barbell Challenge in January !