GROVE, Okla. — When 5 inches of floodwater swept through the interior of a downtown thrift store on June 23, it directly affected the safekeeping of the neglected animals housed inside the nearby animal shelter, which sits roughly a mile to the east.
Why? Because all proceeds from the Second Chance Thrift Shop go to the upkeep and operations of the town’s animal shelter.
The damage to the store, located at 220 E. Third St., “was terrible,” said Lysa Boston, manager of Second Chance Pet Rescue of Grand Lake. Boston was a familiar face at the Joplin Humane Society for many years, serving as shelter director who helped steer the shelter through the chaotic aftermath of the May 22, 2011, tornado. “All the walls, at least halfway up, had to be torn out (and) plumbing, electrical, heat and air replaced. It’s basically going to be brand new. We have to get new display cabinets, etc.,” Boston said.
She hopes the shop will be open to the public “by the middle of next month.”
The flooding, Boston continued, “was a total shock. It came on hard and fast. I wasn’t sure I would make it to work that day — the rain was so bad. We actually had flooding at the shelter as well and had to move animals around. We were lucky though because the shelter is designed to get wet to cleaning and we had lots of drains, so the water was able to recede quickly and left us with minimal mess.”
The thrift stop provides approximately $13,000 in funding toward operating expenses each month at the shelter, which is located at 64301 E. 290 Road.
The loss of that steady income, Boston said, “has been devastating, because obviously we still have a shelter full of animals that need us.”
It costs between $40,000 to $50,000 each month to operate the shelter, Boston said, which houses between 100 to 120 dogs and 80 to 90 cats at any one time.
“We’re almost always at capacity,” she said — the shelter averages 20-30 dog adoptions and 10 cat adoptions per month. “It’s like the game where you circle the chairs and hope you have a seat when the music stops.
“Our shelter is a little bit different than many in that once an animal comes through our doors, we make a promise of forever,” Boston continued. “That means that no matter how long it takes or what we may need to go through — either medically or behaviorally with that animal — he or she will stay safe with us until they find a perfect house. That’s the only way that I can imagine operating the shelter. It certainly does come with a very hefty price tag though — days of care, medical and behavioral needs all add up. But the funding certainly does not come in daily that will meet up with those needs. This is why it is so critical for us to continue to receive donations and why we started a monthly sponsorship program.”
Support from the community is more paramount now than ever.
“The community has been awesome,” Boston said. “The local Rotary jumped in and rolled up their sleeves in the first few days when the mess at the thrift shop was just awful. What we need is continued support and donations so we can ‘keep on keeping on.’”
The monthly food fruck event on Friday helped raise money for the shelter, and there are other fundraising events on the horizon to help bridge the shelter through the rough waters until the thrift shop is back up and running.
On Saturday, Aug. 17, shelter pets will be on-hand at the eighth Cars for Critters indoor car show at the Grove Civic Center, where proceeds will benefit the shelter.
If you would like to help the thrift shop, monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 451205, Grove, OK 74345 or visit the Grove Humane Society website and donate electronically using PayPal or by calling the shelter directly at 918-786-7630.
Address correspondence to Kevin McClintock, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email email@example.com.