Pelham resident leads humane society project

Published 1:06 am Wednesday, July 1, 2020

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By BECKY J. BEALL / Community Columnist

Passionate people living out loud are generally the ones who spearhead excellence in communities, regions and in the world. Locally, Sandy Sims allowed her thought process to clash with a passion for loving dogs, and rolled that into a project for the Shelby County Humane Society thereby greatly enriching the shelter’s impact on homeless animals.

It is no secret that the Shelby County Humane Society is like many other organizations with their dependence on volunteers and public/private donations. A volunteer like Sims is a treasure, and it was in fact during one of her visits (where she takes photos of the animals for their website), that she and another long-time volunteer, Susie Shaffer, noticed how sad the little buddies were in the play yards.

“They needed more enrichment; something to play with and on; some things to smell and explore. I asked the new management and they were on board immediately,” Sims says.

Some ideas die due to lack of funds, but not this one. “We did most of the work for free. We just had to be creative. We got the tires donated from Cahaba Tire Pros in Pelham and painted them with paint we had for the shelter walls. We had donations of plants for the scent boxes. We got free building materials that were being disposed of at a building site (with permission),” she continues. Sims says they have a great group of volunteers under the direction of Ryan Ahrendt, the volunteer coordinator.

According to the Shelby Humane Facebook page, the additions to the play fields for their current pups are paramount for enriching their well-being. “They are super excited about getting outside for fresh air and exercise, but now they have something to entertain and challenge them when staff and volunteers take them out,” the page states. High energy jumpers can play with the tether ball; climbers and performers can use the tire stair step; and the bravest of all dogs can run through the tire tunnel. Another aspect you’ll notice in the play areas is larger watering holes, perfect for the sweltering heat of Alabama summer days.

And, what is Sims feeling as she looks at what was accomplished? “Seeing the dogs enjoying themselves is worth every bit of work…knowing that a love of dogs brought the volunteers together to help.”

The aesthetics for the play area utilize blues and greens that match the shelter’s logo. This was truly a well-thought-out initiative that was much-needed and is much-appreciated.

If you are looking to volunteer or adopt a pet, please get in touch with the Shelby County Humane Society at 205-669-3916. Donations of pet food, beds, litter, litter boxes, newspaper, blankets, etc. may be dropped off at the Columbiana facility anytime in the designated area. Visit for more information.