Words From The Founder:
Thank you for taking the time to learn about The Other Side of the Fence. I have poured so much love and dedication into building this organization, and hope you will join me to make it grow.
Where did the idea of The Other Side of the Fence come from? While channel surfing in the middle of the summer when I was 15 years old, a television show on Animal Planet caught my eye. The show was about an animal rescue that hired homeless individuals recently released from prison to live and work rehabilitating themselves and rescued animals. By the end of the show, I was bawling my eyes out. I do not know what animal rescue it was, but it left the biggest impression on me some 17 years ago. I grew up, got a job during the day as an underwriter for American Title Insurance Company, and a night job as a security guard for The Ranch Bowl, both in Omaha.
Then, in one single night, my life was drastically changed. On my way home from work I was hit by a drunk driver. Being forced to quit both of my jobs due to excruciating back pain, I thought my life was over. Barely fighting the hopelessness that consumed me, I realized one day that the car accident was actually a blessing in disguise. Instead of wasting away or drowning my sorrows as I seemed to have little choice from doing, I decided to dedicate my life to building The Other Side of the Fence, a roughly modeled and greatly expanded version of that nameless forgotten animal rescue I had seen on T.V. years ago.
A Long Road Ahead…
It has been difficult building my dream with very little money to spare. Some days it seems impossible while fighting homelessness and at times extreme back and neck pain, but I will never give up my fight. I have put together a brief timeline of major events that can help our community understand The Other Side of the Fences’ past and its future – in an effort to gain enough support in new surroundings to help guide us to where we need to be in our seemingly constant and desperate effort to find a stable location.
After personally taking in over 400 homeless animals, I strongly believe that it is an endless cycle to simply take in strays, provide them with medical care, training, and re-home them. These precious animals will never be able to fix their own situations, it is up to us to create a holistic set of community service programs to end the vicious cycle of abuse and neglect in our community. It won’t be easy – and may even get pretty complicated, requiring some blood and sweat, as I know I have given plenty in the last 10 years. But I also know that The Other Side of the Fence is why I am on Earth. At times fighting homelessness myself, I refuse to just give up. So join me, and let’s build an astoundingly fulfilling organization!
2006 Animal Rescue
The Other Side of the Fence was first incorporated in September of 2006 for the purpose of preventing cruelty to animals. The Other Side of the Fence originally housed up to twenty homeless animals at a time and opened a small thrift shop to help raise funds to care for the animals.
2007 Child Cruelty
Knowing that there is a connection between the abandoned animals and situations that occur in their humans lives’, the first step at expanding was to incorporate the prevention of cruelty to children into our program by implementing the Creature Teacher and Humane Education workshops. These workshops are intended to build children’s self-confidence and teach humane education in an effort to end the cycle of abusive and neglectful behavior.
2009 No-Kill Animal Shelter & Start of Pet Therapy
Relocating to a 5 acre property situated on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest, The Other Side of the Fence a.k.a. The Butler County No Kill Animal Shelter comfortably housed up to 55 homeless animals at a time.
The Traveling Cuddle Wagon began giving pet companionship to seniors living in residential nursing homes. Besides providing needed socialization to humans and animals, another main intention of this workshop was to get media attention for the “overlooked” animals which had been in the rescue for too long, enhancing their chances for adoption (which was very successful).
For example, Bonnie and Clyde, two black labs who had been waiting for someone to notice them for over six months went home almost immediately after they had pictures taken at a senior center! The benefits of this program are priceless to all involved! For their participation in The Traveling Cuddle wagon, Three Rivers Community College won an award presented during a Missouri Community College Student Government Association Conference in 2010.
The Traveling Cuddle Wagon will eventually become a full blown pet therapy program that serves at-risk youth, as well as individuals with an illness or disability, including seniors, and children. I am attending college to obtain a Masters in Social Work, and eventually become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that is needed for the full benefits of this in this program.
2011 Relocating To Humboldt County
After graduating with my Associates Degree in Butler County Missouri, I had to relocate in order to continue my education. Deciding to relocate was a major step and was not undertaken lightly as The Other Side of the Fence was flourishing, and more importantly, it was – at the time – the only No Kill Animal Shelter in Poplar Bluff and the surrounding area. Choosing where to relocate was an even tougher decision. Ultimately, the beauty and environmentally active community of Humboldt County won as the best possible location to expand in.
After flying to Humboldt County Six months before graduation and meeting with a man who claimed to have the perfect property for rent, we carefully planned the relocation of our 5 acre animal shelter. This relocation included myself and 5 other dedicated volunteers, with all our personal pets and the few remaining animals which were not lucky enough to find their forever homes before we set out for California. We departed Missouri on Christmas Eve to the new five acre property we believed we were renting on the outskirts of Eureka.
2012 Homelessness After Craigslist Scam
On January 1st, 2012, 3 humans (one arrive two weeks later, and two others were set to arrive after one month), 2 mini horses, 6 cats, and 9 dogs excitedly and completely exhausted arrived in Eureka. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, it became obvious that the property we had relocated to was in no way connected to the man who claimed to have authority to rent it to us – we had been scammed.
This devastating news spiraled into a setback that has not yet been overcome. Unable to find pet friendly property to not only accommodate our caravan of well-meaning people and a our animals, I was quickly left in Humboldt alone with 2 mini horses, 4 dogs, and 4 cats. Everyone else understandingly fled homeward.
2013 Blue Ox Helps
Thanks to Vivianna and Eric Hollenbeck at The Blue Ox, The Other Side of the Fence has an office location. However, it has become a grand struggle trying to find a secure and safe space for The Other Side of the Fence to grow.
2014 Sliding Fee Pet Care Services and Community Service Programs
Since relocating to Humboldt County, with the help of a new small and dedicated team of volunteers, The Other Side of the Fence has expanded to include our final two programs that aim to reach directly into the heart of the problem of abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment.
Keep Our Pets is a community outreach program designed to keep pets from being abandoned by their owners through tough times. After years of our phone ringing off the hook with pet owners trying to relinquish their pets, I learned that many of the problems these pet owners are facing are solvable. Most pets just need a little obedience training and extra exercise. This program offers low cost services that benefit both our community, and your family.
Revitalize Humboldt is a community service program. This program expanded our mission to include providing relief to the poor, disabled, and elderly. This program supports our original purpose of preventing cruelty to animals by helping to relieve household tensions that often lead to child and animal neglect, abuse, and abandonment. The low cost services offered through this program are intended to reduce the stress associated with a home that is “falling apart”. Financial difficulty hits most of us at some point in our lives, and The Other Side of the Fence is designed to help, so you can spend the time and money necessary to ensure your family (including pets) is well taken care of. Providing a safe environment and affordable services are other key goals.
2015-2016 And Still Homeless
These programs and workshops are just in their beginning stages. After starting from scratch once again, I am confident that someone who shares my passion will provide us with a space to grow. Once The Other Side of the Fence finds a location, each of these endeavors will be expanded on with the help of our community to ensure they make the most holistic impact possible. I have planted the seeds to prevent cruelty to children and animals instead of just applying a bandage. Now, with the help of my community, let’s work to grow the seeds into invaluable programs that will excite and inspire everyone they touch! So – Get Involved with this 501 (c)3 Nonprofit Charity today!
A Very Personal and Sincere Plea – Since moving to Humboldt County, I have been alternating between finding very temporary locations and sleeping in my truck – all while going to school full time, working my best at getting The Other Side of the Fence off the ground in a new location, and caring for 4 dogs, 4 cats, and 2 mini horses. So far, those wanting to help have not been in a position to do so on a long term basis. Although the horses have a safe place for now, I am pleading with the community to help me find an affordable location to rent. Please open your minds, hearts, and homes for a good cause!