Writer / Heather Chastain
The new Misty Eyes Animal Center in Avon is a dream come true for two co-founders, who began their animal rescue mission five years ago. Cherie Fox and Renee Harlor first opened Misty Eyes in Brownsburg in 2011 and have been renting the building, but are proud to say they purchased the new facility.
“We outgrew our Brownsburg location in about six months. Animals were out in the lobby. But this new location will give us the space to rescue more animals,” said Fox.
Harlor said they have saved more than 1,000 animals, but have turned away hundreds, largely because they lacked the space.
The new Avon location, located on Dan Jones Road south of U.S. 36, boasts more than three acres and will house multiple buildings, which are to be developed in phases. The first building, a remodeled, foreclosed home, will become the administration building. The second phase will be a building to house cats. Harlor said they will be able to take up to 50 cats in their new location. The third building will be for dogs, giving Misty Eyes the capacity to accept 50 dogs, as well as continue its foster program. The new dog area will be outfitted with suites in the nearly 10,000 sq. ft. of space.
Fox’s eyes lit up as she spoke about the Real Life Building, which is modeled after the Taylortown, Louisiana, Real Life Building, where she lived for a year after helping rescue animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“So many dogs come to us that don’t know how to live in homes, Fox explained. “They were either abused or mistreated … they simply don’t have any life skills. This building will give us a chance to work with the dogs and acclimate them to home life. Some dogs have no concept of stairs, or panic when they put their paws on different flooring. This Real Life Building will give us a chance to work with animals on a daily basis to prepare them for their new home.”
Harlor and Fox believe more space will provide more opportunity. They hope to be able to open the facility to the public six days a week, as well as hire paid employees.
“We have a great leadership team of volunteers that allow us to offer free humane programs and teach pet responsibility and kindness to all living things,” Harlor said.
They hope to offer pet training, as well.
Harlor and Fox are adamant in their belief that animals are not disposable; therefore, they have plans beyond the new facility. They want to take their business plan to other counties, as well, to demonstrate how government and non-profit organizations can work together.
“The Hendricks County euthanasia rate was 77 percent when Misty Eyes opened,” Fox said. “It’s now 7 percent. While we can’t take sole credit for this decrease, we did help lower it. It is possible for two entities to work hand in hand.”
Misty Eyes Animal Center relies on dedicated volunteers and contributions from the community to fulfill its mission. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit www.mistyeyes.org.