Friday, January 9, 2009

Save The Sawmill Strays

Seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your neighbor.

That is what Beverly does.

I met Bev on a
church mission trip to West Virginia. She has the most incredibly clear blue eyes, and I know when you look deep within, you see the face of God.

Our task was to replace her roof. Which we did, and I thought I would head on home and have happy memories of the trip, but what I found was a "soul sister" as we came to call each other as the week progressed. A city girl and a coal miner's daughter, with so much in common. A love of life, God and animals. Seeking fair play and justice for all of God's creatures.

We took that trip in 2007, and Bev and I continue to remain in contact. I admire her perserverance, love of life, her caring and loving soul.

Bev lives a very simple life, she is a mountain woman with simple needs. She works several jobs to maintain her independence. She adopted 10 dogs from a local shelter when it was closing, knowing that she would be able to handle them and keep them fed and cared for. They each have their own pen, while not fancy, are safe and clean. They are her life.

Now we come to Saving the Sawmill Strays.

Bev lives in Welch, WV, up a mountain road called Sawmill Hollow. Folks there own the house or trailer and lease the land from the owner. An unusal concept for those of us in the city. The lumber company or coal mine or other entity own the land.

One of Bev's neighbors up the hollow have abandoned their "lease", moved out, perhaps there was a divorce, but the people only come by once every month or so. They have left their animals at the lease without food or water.

Most of us might call animal control, knowing that the animals would be picked up and put up for adoption. ( Where does that happen, let me know.) In St. Louis, where I live, I would contact Stray Rescue or the Humane Society of Missouri or The Open Door Animal Shelter. Stray Rescue and Open Door are no-kill shelters. In Welch, there is a dog -catcher who works for the County Commission.Bev does not want to contact them, as they use a gas chamber. Often the animals are just shot by people on the mountain. There is one NO-Kill shelter in her area and it always filled to capacity.

Bev has been going to the "lease" every day and feeding and watering the animals. One of the area animal control groups send food her way and others have donated money to help her feed these abandoned pets. There are 4 adult dogs and 7 puppies, 2 adult cats and 2 kittens. Bev, discovered the puppies in the last few months and has been feeding and caring for them. Since the weather has turned bitter she has decided to bring them to her small home to care for.

How can we help?

My wildest dream is for Bev to be able to start a No-Kill Shelter. That's my wild dream and maybe her's as well, but what she wants to do right now is spay and neuter the 4 adult dogs as soon as possible, and then generate some income to have the pups spay and neutered when they are old enough. Maybe out of this will grow the dream of a No-kill shelter. Perhaps in our semi-wild dreams we can generate income to build some additional kennels on Bev's lease, so that these animals can stay safe.

We are hoping that animal lovers all over the world will help us with a donation to our "Chip-In" account. I trust Bev, but you all don't know her. I am hoping that those of you I have met "on-line" will trust me.

She has discovered a local source that will assist low income families in paying for spay and neutering services. Those funds are drying up, and may not be able to assist with 11 dogs. She is going to check with them. She may be able to afford to pay for one of the dogs surgeries from money she has saved. My plan is to work with Bev, sending her payment for the first surgery and then additional payments after she sends the receipt for the previous surgery. This may not really be necessary, but I wanted the internet community to know that I am making every effort to insure that the money goes for the animals. I know that Bev will use it for the animals. I'm hoping in my wild dreams, for enough money to help build a few more kennels.

But first things first! We hope to raise $1,100 which would be more than enough to cover the surgeries and help with food and gas and a phone card. Bev does not have a phone and uses the phone at one of her part time jobs at a local church. The calls to the vet are long distance. The distance from her home to the vet, not close.

So much to tell.

At the top of the page is a photo of Bev with Samantha ( one of the Sawmill Strays) it was taken in 2007 when we first met Bev, the other shots are very sad and show the condition of the animals after Bev discovered them abandoned. She has since cleaned up the property and area where the pets were kept at the abandoned home.

You can contact us at and check out our blog, under construction at

PS I've been in communication with Bev ( who checks email at her part time job at the local theater and at the library, computer class, and other venues around town.) and she thinks it would be cool to have each donor submitt a name for the dogs and cats, then we'll have a drawing for naming rights. Great idea, Bev!

PS-2 Chip In Clarification. When you link to chip in it shows my email and Board of Religious Organizations. I also have a chip in for a non-profit group I work with. Your donation will go specifically for The Saw Mill Strays, I'll work on cleaning up the link language. Thanks!


bonniebluedenim said...

Our first donor! Jen @ sennigerpowers

Love you everyday!
thanks so much!

bonniebluedenim said...

the wonderful Gregory family in St. Louis just donated to Save The SawMill Stays and submitt the name Lucky.

Bev, you know them from our mission trip as "Denise - Full of Grace - all the time" and "Greg Peck". They are the best!

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