By KEN STEADMAN
For The Vista
Karen McMeekin is the Founder and President of “A Time 4 Paws” (AT4P), an animal welfare organization based on the No Kill Philosophy. Karen is a very dedicated individual who created a mission statement for the organization: “Provide and promote educational programs that prevent cruelty to animals and eliminate the killing of companion animals in the local municipal shelters.”
McMeekin feels things are improving for homeless and abused animals but we are a long way from a No Kill community. Laws and mindset are the biggest challenge. Educating people and providing a plan is the only answer.
So, how did all of this get started? Karen McMeekin was born and raised in Margate, NJ, a small city on the outskirts of Atlantic City.
When Karen moved to Tennessee from South Florida in 2004, she learned the plight of the homeless pets in the area. Her original intention was to move to Crossville to teach golf. She relocated to the mountains after teaching school for 11 years following her graduation from the University of South Florida.
She eventually began playing amateur golf across the State and climbed to the ranks to Class “A” status. While building a golf business in Fairfield Glade at the former 4 Seasons Par 3, she became more involved in animal welfare.
She felt desire and determination from a Higher Power to help these condemned and helpless animals. In 2006, Karen and a group of dedicated volunteers first started helping the local shelters by taking dogs and cats to offsite weekend adoption facilities to help get them exposure.
After transporting hundreds of dogs to other states, Karen began to learn about the 11 parts to the No Kill Equation (www.nokilladvocacycenter.org). She learned that transporting to other Shelters in northern states wasn’t helping to keep the animals alive.
In 2007, A Time 4 Paws was founded as a non-profit 501 c3 organization. A house was named “Pet Hotel” and is located at 2149 E. First Street. This facility offers compassionate, cottage style, day or overnight boarding.
Three cottages with large indoor/outdoor suites, heat/air, music and TV and an onsite manager make it extra special.
The main house offers small dog suites. Give them a call at (931)- 707-9889 and schedule a tour. I know you will be impressed and your pet will get excellent care at reasonable prices. Their hours are Monday-Saturday 8 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. and 2 P.M. to 5 P.M.
By appointment only on Sunday. The business is operated solely to raise funds to support the organization, unlike any other boarding facility in the area.
About a year later, a Pet Adoption and Education Center was established. The Center is located at 463 Old Jamestown Highway, a short distance from the Crossville Post Office on the opposite side of the street. It is the home for a number of orphaned cats and dogs who are waiting for a loving home. It is operated by a small group of volunteers.
Summer hours starting April 15 are 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday and Sunday 12 to 3 P.M.
Animals stay with AT4P until adopted. Their programs strive to help you keep your pets and when all options have been exhausted, AT4P is a “Safe Alternative”. Phone number for the Adoption Center is (931)-456-6906.
The most recent addition to the organization is a Thrift Store located at 1201 West Street. The store was created to raise funds for the programs that help save lives. Donations of furniture, clothing, electronics, housewares, books and more are tax deductible.
Please shop at the store for some great bargains knowing that 100% of the profits go to benefit AT4P. Call (931)-787-0610 for current business hours and answers to any questions.
Karen’s association efforts have made a difference in our area. The number of killed, incarcerated, abused and neglected dogs and cats has been reduced. AT4P volunteers will be thankful for the day when their organization is not needed because the local municipal shelter achieves No Kill status with a 99% save rate.
Current and future plans include pet retention programs, animeals pet food pantry, long-term compassionate care; spay/neuter assistance, and humane education.
Karen’s greatest goal of all is a pet sanctuary similar to those already established by non-profit agencies in Florida, Texas, Utah and other states. These agencies have large parcels of fenced property where cats can roam free and safe.
Food stations and houses are located within the sanctuary for their comfort. FIV & FELV cat houses allow God’s creatures a safe haven. Dogs are housed in comfort where they can live until adopted or rehabilitated.
Senior and injured animals can be cared for by loving volunteers and a memorial garden would be created for a final resting place.
A Time 4 Paws is an animal welfare agency. Their aim is to educate not judge people about the care of animals. People must be taught that pets are forever and much can be learned from loving them as a member of their family.
AT4P and Karen McMeekin are granted authority by the State to remove animals from cruel and abusive situations when she is aware of them. She has been awaiting response from local officials about an Animal Welfare Task Force that is supposed to be formed in Cumberland County.
How can you help? AT4P needs help and support to succeed. Include AT4P in your estate planning, remember to plan for care after you’re gone.
Many helping hands are continuously needed at the Adoption and Thrift Store. Here are some other ways:
Pet loving volunteers; financial donations; cleaning products; raised pet beds; copy paper; diamond natural dog food; cat litter; 4Health cat food; paper towels, toilet paper and acres of property for an animal sanctuary.
In addition, attend an hour orientation meeting on Tuesday evening at 6 P.M. or Saturday at 10 A.M. to learn more about how you can volunteer your services. Call 707-9889 for dates, locations and a reservation to include you on the schedule.
Watch for AT4P presence at upcoming events- FFG Craft Fair, Tansi Dog Daze, Relay for Life and Motorcycle Rescue Rally in late summer.
Note: Please contact AT4P for Spay & Neuter assistance- grant money is available until May 31st.
For all additional information please log in to www.AT4P.org website.