Animal advocates in Neosho have created a no-kill animal shelter that has been serving domestic animals in Newton and McDonald counties since May 2008.
“We got started in hopes of being a friend of the Neosho city pound,” said Cynthia Leibbrand, the organization’s director. “But it closed, and we were left to evolve into a homebased rescue. Our goal then became to develop an actual shelter facility that became a reality thanks to community support in 2015.”
Since that time, the staff and volunteers at Faithful Friends Animal Advocates have served as the “in between” home to as many animals as they can accommodate. “We can’t change the past, but we want to give them the love and care they need while they are here and do what we can to assure a happy future for them,” Leibbrand said. There are 28 dog kennels and 26 cat kennels in the shelter and, upon an approved adoption application, all animals are ready for their new homes.
With a staff of six team leaders, an animal care coordinator, kennel manager and director on board, volunteers become a necessary part of the organization’s way to carry out their mission. “They help so much with assuring each animal has food and water, cleaning their kennels, doing laundry or socializing with the animals,” Cynthia Liebbrand said. “The volunteers receive training from our team leaders, and we welcome them and appreciate them for whatever amount of time they can share with us.”
All the volunteers have a heart for animals, but Leibbrand has been impressed most by their humility. “They are volunteering for simply their love of the animals and not to be rewarded or recognized for their efforts,” she said. “Though we do that, too, through our social media and occasional volunteer appreciation banquets.”
It hasn’t been easy, though, especially since the onset of Covid-19 in 2020 when the shelter needed to add some safety precautions regarding the number of volunteers who could be at the shelter at one time. That adjustment finds the team working hard in better times today to build up the volunteer roster. “As a non-profit, we rely on donations and our fundraising events to keep things going,” Leibbrand said. “But we also have to rely on volunteers to get all that needs to be done for the animals done in a day.”
Helping the staff get those things done are volunteers Mark and Bonnie Scott. They come into the shelter twice a week, driving about 35 miles each time to do so. “They very rarely ever miss a time to come in and have been doing it for about a year so far,” Leibbrand said. “They work on training and socializing with the animals.”
When asked why they do what they do, Mark Scott simply said, “Adoption is the best option.” Their constant support helps assure the shelter animals will be ready for their next right home.
If you are interested in supporting the shelter as a volunteer and/or donor, call the office at 417.592.2512 or visit www.ffaaneosho.org.
Faithful Friends Animal Advocates
11281 East Highway 86, Neosho, Missouri