Matchmaker saved 100 dogs in last year
Kendra Lemoine reaches out to the community to get dogs placed in homes instead of waiting for potential owners to come into the shelter.
For 25-year-old Kendra Lemoine, entering into a daily effort to help save shelter animals is just the latest chapter in her story that began nearly two decades ago when she nurtured her first animal back to health.
“I was five or six years old. My dad found a raccoon that had been abandoned by its mother and I bottle-fed and raised him,” she said.
As an outdoorsman, Lemoine said her father was largely behind her passion for caring for animals in need.
“It was important to him that you hunt, but you also respect your environment. You eat what you hunt, you don’t do it for sport,” she said. “It is important to take care of the environment.”
As she grew up, the different kinds of animals she nursed back to health came to include a litter of minks, two deer and a litter of squirrels that were blown out of a tree during Hurricane Katrina.
Lemoine is a relative newcomer to St. Charles Parish, but in her short time here she has devoted off hours from her job as a saleswoman at Bryant United Air Conditioning to caring for and finding new homes for the parish’s unwanted pet population.
Lemoine’s relationship with the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter began shortly after she moved to St. Charles Parish last year. After settling in, she alerted the shelter to her aunt’s non-profit organization that focuses solely on placing unwanted Great Danes in new homes.
What began as a simple conversation about finding Great Danes a home has blossomed into a partnership that has resulted in the placement of more than 100 dogs in homes throughout the region.
“My partnership with the shelter started when a Doberman came in with a heartworm problem and (the shelter) needed someone to help raise money for heartworm treatment. I contacted the owner of Lil’ Leslies and she raffled off a barbeque pit and we were able to place the dog in a home,” Lemoine said.
Since then, Lemoine’s relationship with the shelter has grown. One of the most successful things she has done is reach out to the community to place dogs rather than waiting for potential owners to come into the shelter.
“I started going up every other Saturday and getting pictures of dogs that needed to be rescued and posting them on Craigslist,” she said. “I was able to process these applications without having the girls (at the shelter) waste their time on bad applicants.”
Lemoine said a lot of her success is due to the fact that she has learned how to properly pair dogs with owners who will not return them.
“If a pet is sick or needs care, I bring the animal to my home and make sure they are treated for heartworms. Once I get them back to health I train them,” she said. “It’s good, you can learn the personality of the dog and what home they would be good for. It is kind of like eHarmony for dogs and dog owners.”
For her next project, Lemoine would like to help create a literacy program, similar to ones already in place in other parts of the country, that would pair children who are struggling to read with shelter dogs who need attention.
“I would like to see a program where children at Lakewood or A.A. Songy can come to the shelter and a dog can come and they can read to the animals. Children feel comfortable reading to the dog because they don’t feel like they are being judged by the dog. The dog gets out of the cage and gets some socialization and maybe that dog can go home with that child,” she said.
Lemoine said although she feels that helping the parish’s unwanted pet population is a rewarding venture, she would rather see dogs not end up in the shelter to begin with. She advocates for a breeder’s fee to be levied against dog owners who do not have their dogs spayed or neutered.
“It’s important because people are continually breeding. There are 1,001 reasons people want to breed that are not good at all. People, like myself and women at the shelter, fight for hours and days trying to keep these animals from being euthanized and our state is spending thousands of dollars that could go towards something else,” she said.
For those who would also like to help out at the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. To find out more call (985) 783-5010.
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