The Almost Home Shelter established operation in the former Van Buren pound in March of 2017.  Per agreement with the city of Van Buren only dogs picked up within the city limits of Van Buren by Animal Control may be accepted.   When the pound was in operation dogs not claimed after five days were euthanized.
According to board member Connie Martin, 2019 has been a busy and productive year for the shelter.  In an effort to keep the shelter in the public eye community events are attended with dogs in tow.  Events attended included Steampunk Festival, Fall Festival, KISR Egghunt, and Kite Contest, adoption days at Petsense and Tractor Supply, Trunk or Treat at Rhodes Chevy, Holiday Open House at Tates Flowers & Gifts and the Van Buren Christmas Parade.  Board members and mascots have been guests at many of the local schools for various events.
Almost Home operates entirely with volunteers, there is no paid staff.  Additionally, no funding is received for the operation of the shelter.  According to treasurer Melinda Hill, Almost Home has been blessed with generous donors including individuals and businesses.
Fundraising efforts by volunteers help to cover expenses including medical bills which average from $3,000-$6,000 monthly.  Fundraisers included a firemen/Rescue dog calendar, King Opera House event with Lee Ellen Stark and a silent auction, and two warehouse sales.
Almost Home was proud to submit 18,845 volunteer hours to the city toward the Volunteer City of the Year Award.
A major accomplishment was being the recipient of Best of the Best for Non Profit category In October voted on by readers of the Southwest Times Record.
Many improvements have been implemented at the shelter including an office.  Crawford County  Continuing Education built a storage shed which they gifted to the shelter.  The structure was so nice a decision was made to make it an office.  Tom Hill, vice president and jack of all trades, laid flooring, finished inside walls and spent many hours with the end result of a nice office.
Dogs taken in through December 26 total 468, dogs claimed 185, dogs locally adopted 63 and dogs transported 294.
Without transporting to northern states with very strick dog laws the shelter would be unable to provide for all the dogs brought in. Lucia Turner facilitates transports.   A committee organized by former Mayor Bob Freeman has studied dog laws from numerous locale and submitted a plan for consideration to Mayor Joe Hurst.
Prior to adoption, each dog is totally vetted including spay/neuter, all shots, heartworm tested, heartworm preventative or heartworm treatment.  Adoption fees are $75, all applications are reviewed by the adoption committee.  Our goal is to secure the best home for each dog.
Dedicated volunteers clean pens, walk dogs, prepare food and give medication twice daily and on weekends.  Morning crew Monday-Friday 8-11 am, evening crew Monday-Friday 4:30-7:30 pm.  Additional volunteers are needed, stop by 3390 Pointer Trail East during these hours and fill out an application and walk a dog.
2020 promises to be another busy year and we have some new iDeal up our sleeve.
President and co-founder JoEllen Banhart wears many hats but her motto never changes “It’s all about the dogs”.  
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