Pawsome partnership: Eureka Springs Community Center works with Good Shepherd Humane Society

Thursday, March 14, 2019
The Eureka Springs Community Center is working with Good Shepherd Humane Society to offer more opportunities to animal lovers in Eureka Springs. Pictured from left to right are GSHS board member Fiona McGregor Richards, GSHS volunteer Jack Richards, assistant shelter manager Kathy Cobb, shelter manager Sandra Mittler, community center board president Diane Murphy, community center activities director Catherine Luna and GSHS board president Jay Fusaro.
Photo by Purdy Art Company

The Eureka Springs Community Center and Good Shepherd Humane Society are developing a partnership to benefit locals who love their animals.

Good Shepherd board member Fiona McGregor Richards said she met the community center’s activities director Catherine Luna while dropping off flyers for the upcoming Diamonds and Denim Ball, saying she got a taste of what the community center has to offer.

“That’s how the whole relationship started. We were chatting about the fabulous new community center that’s going on here,” Richards said. “[Luna] suggested we collaborate on several projects. We had lunch, and all of a sudden there are lots of fun ideas going around. It’s a win-win for the community center as well as Good Shepherd.”

One of the first events the organizations will partner on, Luna said, is Good Shepherd’s annual rabies clinic. Good Shepherd board president Jay Fusaro said the community center is the perfect place to have the clinic, where dogs and cats receive low-cost vaccinations.

“We need a place that has an open area to administer the shots,” Fusaro said. “We need to let cats out of a cage, but they need to be contained in an area we have room for. There’s also a lot of parking here.”

“We’re hoping that will be the first of many events we’ll do together,” Luna said. “We’re talking about offering some classes that would help pets and pet owners.”

Fusaro said the community center would be a prime location for off-site adoption events, saying he’s excited to see how that moves forward.

“It’s a great location and a great concept to be partnering with the community center, not just because both organizations benefit,” Fusaro said, “but because we want to offer more off-site opportunities for adoptions. It needs to be in a place where the logistics work out. We have parking, we have space here and it’s easy travel distance from the shelter.”

Richards said Good Shepherd has considered working with PetSmart or Petco on off-site adoptions in the past.

“But they’re so far to transport the animals and have the staff get them back and forth,” Richards said. “It would be difficult, to say the least.”

Another way the organizations could work together, Richards said, is on a fitness program. Richards described a mobile application that tracks your steps while walking your dog and said that would be a great way to work with the community center.

“You can track your steps throughout the day. We thought we could get everyone involved in that, too,” Richards said.

Community center board president Diane Murphy pointed out that the community center will eventually be the trail hub for the city of Eureka Springs.

“Our outdoor space is absolutely pet-friendly,” Murphy said. “The indoor space would be on a limited basis for specialized classes, but our outdoor space is open to all pets. People can park and take their pets on the trails. It would benefit everybody.”

Good Shepherd volunteer Jack Richards said he’d be open to teaching classes on how to train your dog at the community center. Richards described his experience, saying he’s trained police dogs and people’s pets over the years.

“The things I stress is the dog doesn’t understand our language and he never will,” Jack Richards said, “so it’s up to me to teach the owner how to communicate with the dog in a language they’d understand. There are plenty of avenues to put on classes here for training.”

He continued, “There’s classrooms here. There’s facilities here. We could do something as simple as a dog walking class –– how to walk your dog without him dragging you down the road. There’s lots of opportunities to do many things here.”

Community center board member Glenn Crenshaw said he’d love to offer those kinds of classes to the community.

“The Berryville Community Center has had dog obedience classes there for years,” Crenshaw said.

Fusaro said Good Shepherd could offer a class on agility training, too.

“With the space here, we could start putting up some agility pieces to make it a fun event for people who belong to the community center, as well as people who adopt our animals,” Fusaro said. “This would be a great location to do that.”

Luna said she’s excited to see what comes next for the partnership.

“We haven’t nailed down the formalities of what we’re doing yet,” Luna said. “We’re just looking forward to have this opportunity for people to learn about pets and adopting.”

Crenshaw said the community center is dedicated to helping other nonprofits in town.

“Anything we can do to help the nonprofits, we will,” Crenshaw said.

“That’s one of the wonderful things about partnering with other nonprofit organizations,” Luna said. “We can work together and give people a place to go where they can learn about all we offer in town.”

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