By Zachary Senter
In 2014, After her dog passed away, Karen Parker paid a visit to her local animal shelter. Having met two different dogs, Karen prayed for guidance on which dog she should adopt. With God’s guidance, Karen took home one of the dogs, believing that the other one would also get adopted. Unfortunately, the other dog was euthanized the next morning. This sad turn of events motivated Karen to get involved in animal rescue. Karen started by taking videos of the cats and dogs at the county shelter. She then started Brother Wolf Rutherford chapter, a new chapter of Brother Wolf Ashville, on July 30th of 2016. Then in 2019, on September 12th, she moved away from Brother Wolf to start Heart of the Foothills. Their mission is to provide a haven for the homeless dogs and cats in their community.
Heart of the Foothills acts as both a shelter for homeless dogs and cats, as well as an adoption center, so the phones never stop ringing. Animals usually come to Heart of the Foothills in one of two ways. Some are dropped off by families who can no longer care for them, while others are dropped off by the county shelter when they are at risk of having to euthanize the animal due to having to sickness or not having space for them. The facility is capable of housing up to 30 dogs and 50 cats, per state regulations. They also have several foster homes. They care for an approximate total of 120 animals, at any given time. In addition, they have a thrift store located on Main Street in Forest City. This thrift store sells items donated by the community, and the proceeds are used to help care for the animals back at the shelter.
Heart of the Foothills wants to ensure that every animal has a safe home, so there are some requirements for adoption. There is an adoption application that can be filled out in person or on the Heart of the Foothills website. Adopters are also required to keep cats indoors to keep them safe from predators and getting hit by cars. Adopters also need to not declaw their cats, as doing so would be akin to cutting off a person’s fingers at the first knuckle. Dogs, of course, are allowed to be outside, but Heart of the Foothills does ask that potential adopters don’t leave them outside 24/7. Heart of the Foothills also asks for vet references and checks with the landlord of any potential adopter to make sure that they will allow pets, as people have had to return animals in the past because they didn’t check with their landlord.
Heart of the Foothills is a 501 c3 organization, meaning that they are not government funded, and they rely on donations to stay operational. You can go on to Heart of the Foothill’s website at https://www.heartofthefoothills.org/ and check out their donations page to see what Items they need. You can also donate money. If you are interested in volunteering with Heart of the Foothills, you can email them at email@example.com. The only requirement is to fill out a volunteer waiver and let them know what days’ work best for you so they can work you into their schedule.