If you are an animal lover, you may remember the exact moment in your life when you knew you cared so much that you were moved to take action.

If you are an animal lover, you may remember the exact moment in your life when you knew you cared so much that you were moved to take action.

For me, it was the summer of 2002, shortly after I began my volunteer career at the Franklin County Dog Shelter.

One afternoon, I walked into the volunteer break room and found a horrifically emaciated female boxer dog. With nothing but skin and bones, she was a heart-breaking sight. While she was too weak to stand, she managed to wag her tail and lick my hand when I petted her, showing me that she still had plenty of love to give.

Friends of the Shelter had not yet been established, and it was understood among staff and volunteers that no funds were available to help this sweet dog. As it turned out, she would be one of a lucky few. A kennel attendant was planning to take her home to nurse her back to health. It was explained to me that most dogs that arrive at the shelter in less than perfect health were not so lucky and were not saved. At that moment, I knew I was committed to this cause.

Since its establishment in 2003, and with support from many dog lovers, Friends of the Shelter has grown to help many dogs like this boxer. This year, Friends of the Shelter has funded life-saving medical care for over 350 dogs, like Didi, Rusty and Raja shown in the pictures. In addition to medical and diagnostic services, Friends of the Shelter funds surgical and orthopedic services, off-site infirmary and recuperative care, and behavioral training for dogs to improve their adoption chances.

Financial support of Friends of the Shelter also helps fund two other special programs:
The Fix, a community outreach program offering low-cost spay and neuter services to Franklin County dog owners needing financial support. Senior Citizens Program, in partnership with Franklin County Office on Aging, providing pet food to senior citizens who often feed their dogs before themselves, so that both eat more nutritiously. (Each of these programs relies solely on the support of Friends of the Shelter and do not receive funding by county tax dollars.) As we look forward to 2010, we're thankful for the support and donations that gave dogs like Huckleberry a second chance to enjoy a healthy, happy life with their new forever families.

Financial gifts are 100 percent tax deductible and help our all-volunteer organization continue funding these life-saving services during tough economic times when the need is greater than ever.

For more information about Friends of the Shelter, please visit us at http://www.friendsoftheshelter.info.

You can also follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/4thedogsFOTS > )
and Twitter (@4thedogs_FOTS).

Ellen Mrochek
President, Friends of the Shelter

P.S. Friends of the Shelter is proud that all of your donations go directly to the dogs. Your financial gift will fund life-saving medical care and give dogs like Mini an opportunity for a healthy, happy new life.

Thank you!