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Mon, Dec. 16

Column | Quality of life improves for group home residents

Just think, Barney, Gertrude, Shorty and I, along with the many other residents of the various shelters and sanctuaries, are waiting for you to visit us. (Butch Meriwether/Courtesy, file)

Just think, Barney, Gertrude, Shorty and I, along with the many other residents of the various shelters and sanctuaries, are waiting for you to visit us. (Butch Meriwether/Courtesy, file)

My name is Jake and you’ve probably never met me or even heard of my plight. I am also willing to bet my next meal that many of you have never been to where my friends and I live.

The place I’m currently staying at with Barney, Gertrude, Shorty and about 180 others isn’t a four-star luxury hotel but is an older, modest single-story facility.

It can be a bit cramped once in a while. Sometimes there are more than four of us living in the same room at any given period of time.

Some of my friends also live in an area with about 50 others. But I want to tell you we can’t complain because we’d rather be living here than defending ourselves on the streets of Mohave County and not knowing where our next meal is coming from.

Yes, we all have a common, unbreakable bond, and we affectingly call the place where we live our “group home.” There are more group homes in Mohave County and they are like a cornucopia abundantly full with unwanted and neglected residents of different nationalities. Gertrude’s relatives are originally from Europe, Barney is from South America and of course, Shorty has no clue about his heritage. Some of Shorty’s friends have referred to him as the mutt in the next room.

Our group home isn’t the only one around. There are several in the surrounding area. As a matter of fact, we live in one in Golden Valley; there’s a couple in Kingman and, of course, others are located on the outskirts and far reaches of Mohave County.

You probably wonder why so many of us live in such a small place. Well, the truth is most of us were neglected and abandoned, and some of my friends were even abused. That’s right, our family members became tired of us and didn’t want us around anymore, so they basically kicked us to the curb like yesterday’s trash.

Some of us ran away from our original homes because we felt our family members didn’t pay much attention to us. Many times, we were left outside to fend for ourselves on the streets, and sometimes we didn’t even know where our next meal might come from.

During monsoon season, it’s almost unbearable for my friends and relatives who are living in the various group homes. The older evaporative coolers on the roofs don’t properly operate, and at times temperatures have soared into the humid mid-to-high 90s inside our living quarters.

That’s right, life has been tough for us in group homes, but I’m happy to say our prayers have been answered and we’re extremely excited that our quality of life is much better thanks to a few dedicated people.

The woman who runs our group home in Golden Valley has always strived to make us residents as comfortable as possible. She has continually dedicated herself to taking care of us, ensuring we have a clean, dry place to live and enough food so my friends and I have full stomachs. There isn’t anything worse than going to bed hungry.

Another thing she and the other fine people who operate group homes have done is make them accessible to people who might want to come and visit us. And what that means is that if we didn’t receive exposure, we would be destined to live in our group home for a long time, and as all of you know, everyone deserves a home where they’re loved.

I must admit our names are not actually what I told you because I want to protect the innocent victims who have ended up here along with me.

If you haven’t figured it out already, we are the four-legged residents at animal shelters and sanctuaries located in Mohave County. Barney, Gertrude, Shorty and I are lucky because we reside at For the Luv of Paws Domestic Animal Shelter and Sanctuary in Golden Valley, where 60 dogs and 120 cats currently reside.

We are thankful for the dedicated humans, especially Cherie and David, who run For the Luv of Paws where we live, and for the other group homes that take care of our relatives. Their devoted vision of making our quality of lives better during the period we wait for someone to adopt us is most appreciated.

Always remember, dogs have masters and cats have staff. Besides them, however, some group homes have other species, such as chickens, turtles, ducks, birds, goats, potbellied pigs and horses, available for adoption.

All I can say is if you have a void in your heart and want to fill it, please visit one of the group homes, animal shelters and sanctuaries. There are plenty of us who would love to go home with a new family.

Just think, Barney, Gertrude, Shorty and I, along with the many other residents of the various shelters and sanctuaries, are waiting for you to visit us. We want to be loved, appreciated and part of your family.

If someone resides where they can’t have pets, consider volunteering. The animals in the various shelters will love you for it, and you will be doing something for the animals and your community. Pick up the telephone directory and find an animal sanctuary near you that may need your help.

For more information about For the Luv of Paws, or if you would like to adopt one of my family members or me, contact Cherie Dalynn at 928-897-7304.

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