SHELTER OF THE MONTH
hearts united for animals
Hearts United for Animals was founded by Carol and Dennis Wheeler. Carol recollects the organization’s beginning: "Some time in the year 1989, it all started when I saw a group of children with a kitten. They were not being malicious with the kitten but were rather just handling the kitten roughly. I joined their group and talked them out of the kitten. Since this happened on main street in a small town where I worked in the bank, the incident was noticed, and I heard about it later from several people. Word must have gotten around that ‘that woman in the bank’ is a sucker for animals because I began to be told about every needy animal in town." In addition to her care of domestic animals, Carol recognizes that farmed animals are in desperate need of attention and compassion too.
Earlier this year, Carol facilitated a discussion about Animal Place’s Food for Thought campaign in a Board of Directors meeting which led to a quick and formal passage of an animal friendly menu policy for their shelter-sponsored events! Their policy reads: “Hearts United for Animals (HUA) shall only provide vegetarian and/or vegan food options at events sponsored by HUA." For this wonderful initiative, Animal Place is delighted to recognize Hearts United for Animals as our ‘Shelter of the Month’ for March 2014.
Animal Place interviewed HUA’s Board Secretary, Josh Bruegger, who was supportive of the policy adoption. When asked why he felt it was important for shelters and rescue groups to adopt an animal friendly menu policy, Josh remarked, “compassion extends to all creatures and we felt that implementing this policy represented that.”
He went on to emphasize how important working on the puppy mill issue is to the organization, which is not all that different from the plight of farmed animals:
“The animals are in a cage their entire lives. They received little to no vet care. They receive no socialization. They are bred over and over again. The offspring are taken from their mothers too early. They have no names and are sometimes known only by numbers. Simply put, these facts are true for animals suffering in puppy mills or those animals who live in factory farms.”
It’s quite clear that Hearts United for Animals is not your typical animal shelter. The dogs share large yards where they romp and play with friends. An agility field enables the pups to show off their skills. Staff and volunteers throw fun parties for the dogs throughout the year for seemingly any occasion, including St. Patrick's Day, the Oscar's, Halloween, and of course a Miss HUA contest! The dogs apparently enjoy dressing up and getting additional snacks as well! Well, who wouldn’t?
Thank you, Carol, Josh and the entire HUA staff and volunteer team for all that you do to relieve animal suffering. As a small token of our appreciation, Animal Place will help showcase and promote one animal that you’re seeking to place in a forever home.
Eric came to the shelter from a Nebraska puppy mill with no teeth, a rotted bottom jaw, anemia and urinary tract problems. He totally didn't care how ill he was. Eric arrived and became an instant favorite. He insisted on being shown how things were run and proceeded to teach the lesser animals how to get it right. He absolutely adores joining the staff and volunteers at events and has become quite famous in his own right. He is a real performer and will kiss up to anyone just to get his fuzzy face in the spotlight. When pictures are taken, Eric assumes his best pose for the publicity shots. He seeks out his favorite people to flirt and strut his stuff. He has learned who on the staff sets up the field trips and follows them from room to room lest they forget that he is the superstar. We could write paragraphs about the antics of this hilarious little character, but we are trying to prevent a swelled head. Suffice to say that Eric's family needs to be prepared for side-splitting antics and constant companionship. To learn more about Eric and how to adopt him, click here.