A small but supportive group of animal lovers endured the frigid weather to lend their energy to the ground breaking ceremony of the soon-to-be-constructed Second Chance Animal Shelter on November 21, 2009.
Rhonda Hamerslough, Executive Director of Second Chance Animal Adoption, accompanied by the SCAA Board of Directors, greeted those assembled and proudly showed off the golden shovel that would be used to officially break ground as well as the golden "pooper scooper."
"We're actually excited to scoop up our first poop," Rhonda laughed.
Rhonda emphasized the late Mary Ellen Thomason's generous bequest to SCAA that allowed the idea of building a centralized animal shelter in Boundary County to begin to take form.
In a touching tribute to her dear friend, Kate Turner said that she had been honored to know Mary Ellen and that Mary Ellen's passion for helping the "doggies and kitties" of her beloved Boundary County had been a constant source of personal inspiration to her.
After the first shovel of earth had been turned over by Kate, the group gathered inside Second Chance Thrift Store for refreshments and congratulations.
"We've got enough money to get Phase 1 - the dog kennels- built," explained Rhonda in an exclusive interview with Ruralnorthwest.com. "Our hope and goal is to shut down the city dog pound. We just want to give the dogs a better environment. The goal is to have one central place within the county where people can adopt animals, look for lost pets or take stray animals that they have found. Building the animal shelter next to the thrift store and having everything under one roof will be economically much better for us."
Rhonda is committed to being a good neighbor to the people who live near the new kennels.
"I absolutely recognize the concerns that the neighbors on this street may potentially have," she emphasized. "That is why we have chosen to not have outdoor runs for the dogs. The dogs will only be outdoors under human supervision getting socialization and training. The dogs will be housed inside at night. In addition, we are doing as much sound control as possible to mitigate noise during the construction process."
Rhonda added that eventually, SCAA will install a solid fence all the way around the property as well.
"I would like to encourage any neighbor with concerns, complaints or questions to contact me personally," she said. "We have nothing to hide; we're an open book. This shelter is for the community and we want the community to embrace the shelter."