tails of hope
shelter of the month
15 years later under the co-leadership of Sue Hempen and Kelly Gillis, Tails of Hope has flourished and evolved into an animal advocacy powerhouse! Shifting their focus to make an impact in their community in Maryland, Sue and Kelly are working on spay and neuter programs, humane education, and fundraising for local shelters. One of their current fundraiser’s is a partnership with Wooftrax and fund2orgs Shoes for Shelters drive. Every pair of donated shoes will be collected and shipped to developing nations around the world that will use these shoes as inventory for small family run businesses. Definitely a very cool fundraiser. Check it out and donate some shoes!
Kelly was kind enough to answer some questions about Tails of Hope’s menu policies, fundraising and mission-driven work.
How did your Animal-friendly menu policy come about?
The founder of Tails of Hope, Linda Junkins, has always been an advocate for all animals, not just dogs and cats. Since its inception in 2000, it’s been the policy of Tails of Hope not to serve meat at events. When Sue and I took over in April, we felt that Sue’s background as a registered dietitian tied in well in terms of raising awareness about the horrible suffering factory farm animals endure.
How have your staff/volunteers/supporters taken to the vegetarian menu policy?
They understand and respect our position, and have been quite supportive.
Our mission, as with so many other animal welfare groups, is to help homeless companion animals, but it doesn’t end there. We feel that we have a responsibility to ensure the compassionate treatment of all creatures. To that end, another aspect of our mission is humane education, where we hope to teach children from a young age how to properly care for animals and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Event planning can be a very fun and rewarding part of the rescue world. What was your favorite event Tails of Hope sponsored? What was your favorite vegetarian dish on the menu?
Tails of Hope celebrated our 15th anniversary in August! We are hosting an anniversary benefit on November 20, with the theme, “Thanks for the memories!” One of the entrees on the menu is a veggie-stuffed portobello mushroom, which we’re really excited to try!
Any advice for shelters that may be on the fence about adopting an animal-friendly menu policy?
Think about applying the love and care we all feel for companion animals to farm animals as well. When you look into the big, brown, soulful eyes of a cow, it makes it a lot easier to adopt an animal-friendly menu
Absolutely! When we heard some shelters, particularly in rural areas, are only able to feed their animals every other day due to lack of funds, we knew we had to add resource development for shelters in need to our mission. We asked our supporters to donate funds to be used to purchase pet food, treats, and cat litter, to fill a virtual truck during the online fundraiser. This was the first fundraiser we’d done since we took over, and we weren’t sure what to expect. We were overwhelmed by our awesome supporters, and raised so much for the project that we had to rent a van to make the delivery. Sue and I drove down to Parsons, WV to personally deliver the 2,000 pounds we collected. It was a great experience!
Tails of Hope no longer does animal intake, but we have been doing some sponsorship of shelters animals on their way to rescue, as well as medical sponsorship of shelter animals in need. Charlotte comes to mind as a dog we’d love to see go to a forever home. She came into a rural kill shelter with a fractured leg after having been hit by a car. She underwent emergency surgery for her leg, but, during her recovery, began vomiting profusely. It was learned that she had a pork chop bone lodged in her stomach. When the vet opened her up, he found the bone, but also leaves, plastic bags, and garbage. Who knows what this poor girl endured before someone helped her. Tails of Hope donated $500 towards her surgeries. We are pulling for her to make a full recovery and find her way into a loving home with a person or family who will cherish her for the rest of her life.
We are passionate about Spay and Neuter, as we believe it’s the only way we will ever be able to conquer the homeless animal problem. In January, we will be partnering with Spay Today, and will provide them with a monthly stipend to use to help folks who really want to have their animals altered but simply don’t have the means. We hope to be able to go into communities all over the US to stem the tide of unwanted pets by helping people get their pets spay and neutered. We respect and support traditional rescues 100%, but, without spay and neuter, it will never be enough. We want to tackle the problem from a different perspective; it’s our goal to see the day when every single pet has a loving home.
On behalf of all of us at Animal Place and the Food for Thought campaign,
CONGRATS, TAILS OF HOPE!