Just a couple miles south of Farmington on highway 67 you will find ‘the best-kept secret of the Parkland’, according to Wendy King, Vice President of the Board of Directors, and Shelter Manager of the Farmington Pet Adoption Center. What’s the best-kept secret you ask? The Second Chance Resale Store, adjacent to the adoption center.
When we arrived at the resale store, I was shocked at how large the store was inside. There were racks and racks full of nice, gently used, clothes; women’s, men’s, and children’s. There was a large selection of purses and shoes, huge variety of toys, books, and movies. It’s said to be the largest resale store in the Parkland! All items are priced very reasonably and everything was donated to the shelter to be resold.
When donations are dropped off for the resale store, they have about 15-18 volunteers who go through each item and quality check it, organize, price and put out on the floor. Wendy said they are kind of picky about what is for sale, any thing that is damaged, torn, dirty, missing buttons, etc, does not make it out to the shop’s floor to be sold. But none of it is thrown away either! They have multiple places that take items that don’t meet their standers to be sold, as well as taking items to recycle. Some of the home decor items that may have been in the store for a while they have donated to local nursing homes for bingo prizes and such. “Nothing is just thrown out, or wasted!”
Mickie, Secretary and store manager, greeted us when we got there and explained that 100% of the sales goes directly to fund the bills for the adoption center. Things like regular vetting for the cats and dogs rescued as well as food, any additional vet expenses, cleaning supplies and utilities. Even with all the sales going to the center, it only covers about 65% of the total annual costs of running the full-fledged adoption center.
The establishment has been around for about 30 years. Currently known as the Farmington Pet Adoption Center [FPAC] for only about 8 years, it is often mistakenly referred to as ‘the humane society’. The FPAC is a ‘no-kill’ shelter that is 100% non-profit. They are almost always full, if they ever have empty spaces they go to the local pound and rescue animals from there.
We were shown through the shelters spaces after seeing the resale shop and it’s back staging rooms. We got to meet the kitties first! They have approximately 80 cats waiting to be adopted currently. I was amazed at how sweet and loving they all were! The first room of cats were the adults and they had freedom to roam and play and snuggle together. They seemed happy to see us and some were very affectionate, others curious and some just slept but all seemed happy and content. They were all different and beautiful; unique colors and patterns, long hair, short hair, blue eyes, sleepy eyes… they were so adorable! The next room was for the kittens! They keep the younger cats separate because the older ones like to pick on the little ones. Again, they all seemed so content in the care of all the passionate and caring workers around them.
As Wendy took us through each room you could tell she had a deep connection to the work at this center. She cared so much for the animals there and warmly greeted and introduced each as she shared their stories of how they came to be at the shelter.
Each room was a flurry of activity. There was a family there looking to adopt a cat while we were visiting. Wendy explained that they have an in-depth screening process before you can adopt a pet, including a 6-page application along with an adoption fee. Adoption fees are lower than purchasing from a pet store, especially when you consider that your most likely getting a fully vetted, spayed/neutered, healthy pet. The rates they have hardly even allow for recouping any costs for caring for the animals while they are at the shelter.
Wendy, showing us the ‘catio’; a cat-patio! This is where the cats can go outside and interact with dogs with a fence in between them and then they know which dogs are good with cats and vice-versa.
Among other items donated to the shelter are things like cat food and dog food. While it is always appreciated, they are always making sure the animals food is balanced and healthy, and changing their diet in the slightest can cause unnecessary problems. “We don’t want 80 cats with diarrhea”, Wendy remarked, knowingly. But again, no donation is turned away and any animal food that can’t be used is passed along, “We donate it to some people who take care of feral animals, or to the local food banks, where people can go and get food for their pets when they can’t afford it.”
At this point, we were led to the canine side where we were introduced to a litter of 6 puppies who had been dropped off at the shelter. They were excited and bouncy and made it difficult to get clear pictures, but they were so sweet and affectionate.
The dogs get two to three trips outside every day to exercise and play. All the caretakers are paid [“not much”, Wendy mentioned], but they are all passionate about taking the best care of the animals as they can. It is 100% female workers, and they love their job so much, that even when on break, they will just go and play with the puppies. The center tries to get foster homes for puppies in their care, and Wendy mentioned that one of their puppies comes home with her every night as a foster pup. This helps them to start potty training and learning other simple commands while they wait for a forever home.
Some of the animals that come to the shelter are in dire straights. Some may not ever be considered ‘adoptable’. There were many there that were over the age they typically accept there, but they have such a big heart for making sure every animal is cared for that they take them in. They have certain limits to how many animals they can house, legally and logistically, but they never want to turn away a pet in need.
If you are interested in supporting the FPAC, like them on FB and stay up to date on needs and events. You can donate directly from their FB page, and see pets that are available for adoption currently. Drop by and shop in the resale store, or consider donating some of their ‘wish list’ items; things that are used and needed on a daily basis, but not necessarily fun or exciting to donate. [listed below] Or join the many other families and individuals who have decided to be a forever home to a pet!
We thanked Wendy for taking time out of her busy day to show us around and introduce us to the pets that were like family to her. She was pleased to have the opportunity to share and let more people in our area know about the work that goes on there at the FPAC day in and day out.
Do you have a rescue pet? Share your family’s pet adoption story in the comments below! Share this article with your friends who love animals!
Farmington Pet Adoption Center 2017 Wish List:
Dog & Cat beds
Rural King beef bones
13 gal. kitchen trash bags
55 gal. strong trash bags
Tidy Cat scoopable litter
Sm & Lg dog Pill Pockets
8.5″x11″ Copier paper
Pocket folders (2 pockets, no prongs)
Walmart gift cards
Rural King gift cards
Tractor Supply gift cards
2017 marks the eighth year for the annual Home Grown Farm Tour. On August 26th, enjoy the self-guided tour featuring eight venues highlighting the diversity of local farms and nearly 250 years of history in Washington County.
Read all about how this local non-profit is reaching families in our community to provide support and encouragement specifically to moms in need and how you can be a part!
The Fancy Crow is a unique gift shop located in Bonne Terre. The shop features primitive, country, Americana home decor items and handmade gifts made by local artisans.