Clear the Shelters: Special partnership saving animal lives in Calloway County

If you’re looking to add a new family member to your household, look no further than your local animal shelter. We’re helping Clear the Shelters, by joining with animal shelters across our viewing area. In one county, a special partnership is helping save the lives of dogs and cats.

"This is my complete and utter life," Calloway County Animal Control Officer Emily Cook told Local 6.

It’s been that way since Cook was 15-years-old. She’s devoted, to say the least, to the dogs and cats at the Calloway County Animal Shelter.

"I come in and I’m like, I love this one, and they’re like, Emily, you love every one of them," she said with a laugh of what the volunteers and workers at the shelter say to her. "And I’m like, really, I do, but this one I really love."

It’s the softer side of this animal control officer that frankly sees a lot of really terrible things on the job.

"I still shed tears at night," Cook said. "I mean, I still worry, did I do enough for that dog, should I have done this."

The faces of the dogs and cats at the shelter drive the people who run it and the Humane Society of Calloway County. The two are separate entities that work together.

"Started about 10, 12 years ago with spaying and neutering," Humane Society Executive Director Kathy Hodge said. "We have volunteers who come down all week long taking pictures of animals here and putting them on Petfinder."
Hodge says the hard work of both the employees and volunteers at the shelter and the Humane Society is really starting to pay off. About 15 years ago, Hodge says it wasn’t unusual for the shelter to have a euthanasia rate of higher than 80 percent.
"That was tragic," she said. "Just tragic. Now we’re down in the 12, 15, 20 percent."

Those numbers show serious progress.

"The work’s still there to do, but it keeps you excited about it when you see those numbers improve and the animals go out alive," Hodge said.

"You don’t ever get over it and you don’t ever forget about any of them," Cook explained of the emotional connection she and the staff share with these animals.

To learn more about the Clear the Shelters initiative, click here.

To see a slideshow of several happy endings for dogs adopted out of the Calloway County Shelter and Humane Society, scroll to the very top of this story.

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