Making a Difference in the Lives of Pets in LaGrange County
Writer / Angela Cornell
Photographer / Kari Lipscomb
Companionship and unconditional love are priceless. Companion animals can provide both in abundance. Ark Animal Rescue & Adoption in LaGrange provides a place of refuge for adoptable dogs and cats where they are treated humanely as they wait for their forever family.
Ark has been LaGrange County’s primary animal shelter since July of 2006. Founded by Marge Malone, this organization’s goal is to be a no-kill, adoptable shelter for cats and dogs from LaGrange County.
Every animal that comes to stay at the shelter is given all the medical treatment it needs, from heartworm treatment to removing a leg that has been damaged beyond repair in an accident.
“We’ll do whatever we can medically,” explains Cindy Miller, manager. “Our main goal is that the animal has to have quality of life.”
This extends not only to the available adoptable pets, but also for the two-legged guests who walk through the door. Whether a person comes to choose a new member of the family or make the difficult decision to surrender one, the Ark staff remains gracious and non-judgmental.
“Just because someone is surrendering a dog doesn’t mean that they did not think about this for months or a year,” Miller says. “They may have even sobbed themselves to sleep thinking about it. Some people really have no other option. Listening to people and not judging them is a big part of helping people.”
During their stay at the shelter, Miller and her staff try to help the pets have a high quality of life even after they find their forever home. Every available pet at Ark is spayed or neutered and has received their rabies shot. Dogs are microchipped, and cats are given their five-way shots and are tested for both feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.
The staff believes in being honest with those who come to adopt. Ultimately, this is another way that they promote a high quality of life for the animals.
“If a dog has bit before, the people need to know,” Miller says. “If the dog is going to pee all over their house, you tell them, because that way they know what they’re getting into. If they still want to adopt that animal, chances are it’s not coming back.”
Beyond adopting a pet, anyone can help Ark’s mission by volunteering at or supporting the Paws & Claws Bookstore in downtown Howe. This 5,000-square-foot-plus bookstore has been supporting Ark since the beginning and is completely run by volunteers. Everything sold there has been donated, and all proceeds go to Ark.
“The people who go in there say it’s like going into a library,” Miller says. “They have everything.”
The staff is also looking for volunteers to help with a new dog-walking program. Once volunteers are approved and trained, they will be able to help the dogs become more adoptable.
“The majority of the dogs that we have here do not walk well on a leash,” Miller says.
Those interested are encouraged to call Ark.
When speaking to pet owners, Miller advises them to get their pet chipped or tagged.
“It makes it so much easier for your pet to get home,” she explains. “Don’t forget to call the shelters if your pet goes missing.”
She also highly recommends spaying or neutering. This is one of the most important ways that an animal lover can care for their pet, since it helps maintain a manageable population.
To that end, Ark employs Humane Fort Wayne, a veterinary transport service that can take community members’ pets to a clinic in Fort Wayne to spay and neuter them. Whenever there are spots left on the transport, Miller will fill it with animals staying at Ark. This service, the schedule for which is on Ark’s website, is offered once per month.
Ark Animal Rescue & Adoption is located at 530 East 300 South in LaGrange. For more info, call 260-463-4142 or visit arkanimalrescue.weebly.com.
Visit Paws & Claws Bookstore at 309 Defiance Street in Howe. Call them at 260-562-2100 or check them out online at Ark’s website.