As the year wrapped up, I found myself thinking about how much we have accomplished together this year. Thanks to the generous support by all you animal lovers out there, I had my busiest year of adoptions to date. In 2011 I placed 358 four-legged friends in new, loving homes. Many of you have been the excited people welcoming these new members into your family. And many of you have opened your homes and your checkbooks to make our work possible.

The year has been dotted with memorable moments, but one of the most awe-inspiring for me came earlier this month. I’ll never forget grabbing the mail from my mailbox and sorting through the envelopes, only to find my Federal and State tax bills. I knew they would be coming, but when I saw that I owed $800 to Uncle Sam for my 501c3 status as an animal rescue, plus more than $560 to the state of Missouri, I felt sick to my stomach. Believe it or not, Missouri charges me for every dog that comes into my care, whether it lives, dies, is placed in a home or given away. And my non-profit is taxed the same way as breeder or puppy mill is taxed. Can you believe that? Ironically, I also get to pay a fee for Operation Bark Alert … the initiative to crack down on puppy mills. Aren’t I working to do that already?

Having no cash in reserves at the time, I made a plea for help on Facebook. Your response was immediate and overwhelming. Within 12 hours, your donations had paid both the Federal & Missouri bills. Your generosity allowed me to get back to the work of saving animals, which involved whelping (helping deliver) four Lhasa Apsa puppies. Running an animal rescue involves as many ups as it does down, but as we bound into the New Year, I’m as enthusiastic as a dog knowing a treat is coming his way. There will be challenges, and there will be major successes.

Founded in 2009, 644 adopted to date … and counting.