SMILING DOG FARMS is a sanctuary for the unadoptable, the dogs that would normal be put to death, that rescuer's can't help, train, or rehab. This sanctuary helps nationwide, and thousands of dogs from all kinds of rescue's and places. where hope was lost for the dogs, new light came for them thru smiling dog farms. its a happy place, well organized, and well managed. its housing is better then alot of people do in their own back yard for personal dogs.
this sanctuary is getting more and more noticed for its achievements, its ability and its care of the most unwanted dogs in the USA. Along with awards of kindness and mercy to many dogs.
there is one problem, the funds are running out and the cost of care for these animals is high maintenances and work. The organization won't be able to help or be there much longer without support from public, or kind people that are against animal killing.
there really isn't too many places that can do what smiling dog farms has done, and we really can't afford to lose this place. can we help, do we want to help, and will we help them keep their doors open for many years to come and help the hopeless, and unadoptable dogs that no one else can do for??
----------NEWS ARTICLE: Wapokoneta Daily News/Ohio
By KRISTIN REICHARDT
At the beginning of the Christmas season, a county organization is giving two men in Texas the gift of Mercy and Forgiveness.
Mercy and Forgiveness, two 5-year-old female pit bulls living at the Auglaize County Humane Society since June, flew cargo-class Wednesday to Smiling Dog Farms in Wharton, Texas.
The farm offers a sanctuary for dogs that have no option for adoption and face being euthanized.
“We wanted to be sure that the dogs were going to a place where they would be well-taken care of,” Auglaize County Humane Society President Sandy Harrison said Wednesday as members of the animal shelter staff said goodbye to the dogs.
Mercy and Forgiveness came to the local animal shelter after a deputy at the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office rescued them from a residence near Buckland, where they were suspected of being used as bait in dog fighting.
Wounds covered the dogs bodies, leaving lasting ramifications. Mercy suffered severe damage to the skins and fur of her upper lip and had no nose — she could only breath through her mouth because her nostrils were non-existent. A reconstructive surgery that cost approximately $300 gave her what shelter employees call a “breathing hole,” which at least allows her to breath — while snuffling and snorting.
Forgiveness suffered damage to one side of her lip and muzzle, and is blind in her right eye.
‘”We told ourselves that these two dogs would never have to worry again about being mistreated,” Harrison said.
Because of their past, Harrison said shelter employees believe Mercy and Forgiveness could never be adopted.
Harrison described Mercy as a dream-boat and Forgiveness as feisty.
“We get so attached to them here and it is hard to let them go,” Harrison said.
Michelle Pharr, who takes care of incoming animals, said that if she had the space at her house, she would adopt Mercy.
“She has almost a human quality,” said Pharr, who spends most of every day with Mercy by her side. “She loves everybody who walks back there.
“I just tell her she’s beautiful all the time, even with her little messed up face,” she said.
Beth Moyler, an animal control assistant at the shelter, was the initial shelter employee to work with Mercy and Forgiveness.
“She’s just a big baby,” Moyler said of Forgiveness. “She’s just a good dog — the most dangerous thing on her is her tail.”
With her thin, whiplike tail thrashing like a metronome, Forgiveness lay her head in the sitting Moyler’s lap and began to give caregiver “doggie kisses.”
After hearing about Smiling Dog Farms, a 37-acre sanctuary surrounded by more than 1,000 acres of farmland, Harrison sent her son, who lives in Texas, to scope out the sanctuary.
Smiling Dog Farms owner Jay Hellerich and his partner, Ricky Clements, began taking in stray dogs in 1994 while they lived in a residential neighborhood near Albuquerque, N.M.
The couple began taking in female dogs with puppies to protect them until the puppies were able to be placed with families because at that time Albuquerque had a policy that mother dogs with litters could only be held in shelters for so long before the puppies where killed.
“From there it sort of spiraled and grew,” Hellerich said Wednesday in a telephone interview from the farm.
They found themselves unable to say no when someone asked them for help.
“For a big part of our time, we lived in a two-bedroom ranch style house in one of those cracker box subdivisions,” Hellerich said. “At that time I think we had 38 dogs. We had dogs in the bathroom and dogs in the kitchen. We had dogs everywhere.”
The couple purchased their property in Wharton in 2005 because it has 175 acres bordering two sides, and a 1,000-acre egg farm on a third side.
Mercy and Forgiveness will join the 400 dogs, 22 horses, five pigs, three donkeys, a cow, sheep, and an assortment of chickens, geese and ducks that comprise Smiling Dog Farms’ roster of rescued animals.
Hellerich stressed Smiling Dog Farms’ purpose is to serve as a sanctuary, not a rescue shelter.
“We have a unique niche in the rescue world — we don’t take in adoptable dogs,” Hellerich said. “We should be the very last choice, but the fact remains that there are many dogs where no other option remains.”
Lance is Hellerich’s favorite example of why the farm exists. This dog came from a shelter in Phoenix and was unadoptable because he bit four people while at the shelter and posed a liability risk if placed with a family.
“Lance’s choice was either to come here or to be euthanized,” Hellerich said. “He has been here three years and he’s never bit anybody since he’s been here. He’s the sweetest dog.
“It’s a good little life for Lance,” he said. “Those are the dogs who are supposed to be coming to Smiling Dog Farms.”
Another key aspect of the sanctuary is the lack of a corporate atmosphere — Hellerich and Clements try to be intimately involved in every animal’s life to a degree.
“This is our home,” Hellerich said. “The dogs live with us, and we have outside, self-contained units for the dogs where they have big play yards. One of the biggest things is I don’t want a dog to feel like he has gone to jail when they come here.”
The dogs are on a rotating schedule to spend a day in the house as a pet, to go for car rides on trips to town and to spend the night cuddling in their masters’ bed.
The farm employs six full-time employees, and is in the process of developing a Web site and taking other steps necessary to become an official non-profit organization.
“Up until now, Ricky and I have basically supported this out of our own pocket, and as we’ve grown and grown and grown, what we really need now is to have an annual fundraiser that has a solid economic foundation that’s not dependent on Ricky and me,” Hellerich said, adding that eventually he would like to hire a full-time director so he and Clements could take more of a back seat and focus on casting vision and expanding the operation.
“The goal is for Smiling Dog Farms to exist long after Ricky and I are dead,” Hellerich said.
The farm accrues $300,000 in annual expenses — 20,000 pounds of Kibble brought in on a semi-truck costs $5,700 and lasts six to eight weeks.
As Mercy and Forgiveness become acclimated at the farm, they will spend time in the house getting to know the new people surrounding them, and so the sanctuary employees can get to know them and what to expect from them.
Last Updated ( Friday, 30 November 2007 )
“My hope and my goal and wish is that they’ll be able to have friends and it’ll be OK,” Hellerich said. “What we have to be watching for early on is what kind of things trigger bad memories for them.
“These little girls were purposefully, willfully tormented on a level that’s hard to imagine,” he said. “What they did to these girls is unspeakable, unconscionable.”
For every dog at Smiling Dog Farms, the cottage, porch and yard unit they come to is their final home.
“These are our babies — it’s not like we’re a corporate entity,” Hellerich said with a laugh. “This is the end of the line and this is their home and we’re all going to grow old here together.”