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Where all is ‘Furgiven’


Rescue sanctuary for animals with neurological disorders celebrates one year in West Memphis With the Times having recently reported on the two local animal shelters in West Memphis and Marion our research led us to the discovery of a somewhat new and largely unknown shelter in town with an

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Photo by Don Wilburn FURGIVEN (cont.)

unconventional twist.

The Furgiven Animal Sanctuary, located at 310 South Woods St., is just around the corner from the old Bolden Electric Company office and is celebrating their one year anniversary since opening their doors on Aug 9, 2021. It was more rumor than research that led us to the empty parking lot and locked front door, reasons for both of which would be revealed to us soon after.

Undaunted, we rang the bell and waited until eventually

young casually dressed gentleman named Lee and his happy-go-lucky wiggly furry friend, a red brindle pocket pit bull Dalia. We were invited in an introduced

and sat down for an impromptu interview.

Dalia, one of 9 other rescue animals currently at the sanctuary, as it turns out was born with an underdeveloped cerebellum, a neurological condition known as Cerebellar Hypoplasia, which is the cause of her “happy wiggling” and affects an animal’s motor coordination and sense of balance. Colby and Lee, with a combined 16 years of experience working in no-kill rescue shelters, specialize

dogs, born with the disorder or who later in life develop a similar condition, Cerebellar Atrophy, a degeneration of the cerebellum. While there is no cure for this condition, as the animal grows they can learn to compensate for their condition and go on to live a long, happy, and pain free life.

While Dalia certainly stole the show and our hearts during our interview Colby and Lee`s dedication to their cause still managed to shine through. As we asked about the adoption process, which to say the least is a bit more stringent than other shelters (potential owners must have a fenced-in backyard for starters), it was clear that their focus was entirely on the treatment and care of the animals even describing the sanctuary as “their home” which was the reason for the aforementioned locked door and empty parking lot; visits are by appointment only and only for those serious about adopting. Lee punctuated this sentiment with the non-rhetorical “How would you like it if strangers were coming and going all day in your house?”.

The sanctuary like other local shelters is supported by and welcomes donations, but unlike their counterparts do not receive any funding from the city and is primarily financed by private backers as well as some revenue from custom Furgiven merchandise which can be found at their online store on Facebook and their website Revenue and donations, besides going to obvious necessities such as food and medicine, are needed for projects such as more fencing in the enormous backyard of the kennel, which also happens to already have an above ground pool specifically designed for physical therapy for Furgiven`s furry residents, and for Lee and Colby`s numerous roadtrips to pick up animals in need, the most recent of which was more than 1,600 miles one-way.

Furgiven does not take in surrendered animals or strays as they specialize in neurological disorders only. All others should be taken to the appropriate local shelters in West Memphis and Marion. Anyone interested in more information may contact the sanctuary via Facebook or by calling 870-629-5042.

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