MEXIA—Limestone Animal Rescue and Adoption Shelter, also known as LARAS House, is a vision that is becoming a reality in more and more concrete ways. Local residents of Mexia and Groesbeck recognized that unwanted dogs and cats were routinely dumped in the country. Whether the residents regarded these animals as a nuisance or as a cause for concern, there was awareness that something needed to be done. Four concerned people got together to find homes for a litter of Great Pyrenees puppies that were abandoned in the lake area. They shared stories about other unwanted animals they had found, starving and diseased. “Dogs don’t do well in the wild,” Jay Posey said. “They just don’t understand when they are left alone.”
In April 2008, the group began in earnest to work toward creating a shelter in Limestone County. They were able to purchase a five-acre piece of land, and soon after, they were given an unused mobile home that they could refurbish to provide office space, a cat habitat, and a place to bathe animals. The county committed to building a culvert and a road to the future permanent shelter building.
At any one time, as many as 100 to 130 animals come into the care of this dedicated team. The large number of animals in need gives urgency to the task of raising funds to build a permanent shelter. Such fundraisers as “shelter showers” and brick sales help generate the funds needed so that construction can begin on an environmentally friendly building with solar power. The most important work of the shelter sponsors is placement of the animals into homes where they will be loved and cared for. People from as far away as Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas can look at the LARAS House Web site and choose a dog that is currently living in a foster home. Once or twice a month, on a Saturday, there is an Adoptathon on Highway 84 where interested families can see and interact with the animals available for adoption.
The date of the next Adoptathon is also found on the Web site. Last year, 357 animals found new homes through this process. All kinds of animals find their way into this shelter: dogs, cats, goats and horses. There is even a foster home for hamsters and guinea pigs. There are 25 or 30 foster homes where dogs are cared for. The foster families often find it difficult to part with an animal that is preparing to move to a permanent home. “We cry,” Jay said. “When you bottle feed a puppy or a kitten you get attached. You have to remind yourself you are only keeping it healthy for its future family.” Until the building is possible, the group is working with local veterinarians, public officials and private citizens to be sure rescued animals have what they need.
Editor’s Note: For more information, contact LARA’s House at 903-644-5275 or e-mail [email protected].
Written by Joan Kilbourne