Woman volunteers time and money to provide better living conditions for neighborhood pets
UNION SPRINGS, Ala. (WSFA) - A woman in Union Springs has made it her mission to make sure that all of the backyard pets in her neighborhood are taken care of.
Jennifer Gallagher, animal outreach volunteer and founder of the nonprofit organization Chick n’ Pups Canine Crusade, has spent 6 years and thousands of dollars of her own money providing better living conditions for outdoor dogs and cats in need of assistance in Bullock County.
“There’s a lot of animals that I cannot take into my personal possession, but I can improve their quality of life, and maybe educate their owners so that maybe eventually people don’t need me, they’ll just know to do the right thing on their own,” Gallagher said.
Right now, Gallagher said she makes regular monthly visits to about 18 to 20 dogs to provide flea and tick medicine, nail clippings, food, shelter upgrades, etc.
With the weather getting colder, that means winter preps! Gallagher has provided coats, shelter and hay to insolate dogs houses for several animals.
Gallagher estimates that she, along with the help of Alabama Animal Alliance in Montgomery, have helped spay and neuter about 15 dogs this year.
She has also helped send many dogs through surgery whose owners could not afford it.
Gallagher said she has always been an animal lover. She worked for three years as the director of the Bullock County Animal Shelter and has always done personal animal rescue on her own, but after she retired from the shelter she thought her time serving animals was over, until she noticed that more than just one dog in her neighborhood could use some tender love and care.
“I was always just the volunteer. I would find the local rescue and I would volunteer time and money, and then I came here and there was no rescue in Bullock County so what do you do when there is no rescue and you want to help? You just create your own!” Gallagher said.
It all started after Gallagher noticed her neighbor’s dog tangled up in their leash outside, unable to reach her food or water. She said a storm was coming in, and the dog was frightened and needed shelter. So Gallagher offered to help.
“First I got a dog house, and then that lead to getting a better collar, and then getting the dog off the heavy chain, and then putting the dog on a lightweight cable instead,” Gallagher said.
After that, things took off, and more and more people in the community were coming to her for help with their animals.
“It’s people that know me, and if they have a friend that needs something they contact me, and I help if I can,” Gallagher said.
The outreach has grown so much that she applied for, and was granted, federal charity status for her now nonprofit organization “Chick N Pups Canine Crusade.” This has allowed her to get more donations so she can help more animals.
“I have payed for several dogs to go to the vet. I used to do it out of my own pocket, but now fortunately I’ve got some donors,” Gallagher said.
She has also started to get some volunteers.
“More donors and more volunteers means more dogs that we can help, and maybe help a few more cats,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher’s hard work and appreciation does not go unnoticed. Kenneth Baynes, a Bullock County resident, has four dogs that all get assistance from Gallagher.
“It’s a big help off of me financially because what I don’t buy, she buys,” Baynes said. “It’s a big help for me.”
Baynes said he is not the only one who is appreciative.
“She actually helps the whole neighborhood,” Baynes said. “The dogs love her and she is a friend of the family.”
“I don’t think anyone else does this type of work,” Baynes went on to say. “She loves doing what she is doing and she is great at it, and I am grateful to have her.”
When asked why Gallagher goes out of her way to help other people’s pets, she said, “It’s just something that’s in your blood, and once I see an animal in need it just eats at my heart. So I guess the selfish reason for why I do this is because I sleep better at night knowing that there’s a few dogs at least that are more comfortable because I did something. "
“We all have a responsibility to do what we can, where we can, to make a tiny little improvement in our world,” Gallagher added.
Gallagher said if you see a dog that looks like they are in need to contact a nearby shelter or animal outreach group, or make an effort to help yourself.
“Take a chance, knock on a door,” Gallagher said. “More people need to take a better approach when they see things that hurt their hearts and instead of just judging the people who are not treating the dog they would treat their dog, make an effort to assist.”
Gallagher said every animal outreach volunteer wishes for a day when they are no longer needed, but until that day, she plans to continue to serve.
How can you help?
If you would like to donate to Jennifer’s nonprofit organization Chick n’ Pups Canine Crusade, you can email email@example.com.
You can also call Alabama Animal Alliance 334-239-7387 or Taylor Crossing Animal Hospital 334-260-8787 and make a donation.
You can also help support by volunteering or donating new or used supplies.
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