History of Friends of Falmouth Dogs
The Early Years
Friends of Falmouth Dogs began in 1990 with a handful of residents who wanted to help find homes for the stray and abandoned dogs in Falmouth.
Prior to 1990, all stray dogs were kept in small cages at the dog pound on Gifford Street for 10 days. They were fed, of course, but they were not handled or walked. If not claimed by their owners, the dogs were moved to the MSPCA in Centerville.
Appalled by the conditions at the small, dark, airless facility in Falmouth, the group of residents decided to act. In those early days, volunteers simply showed up at the dog pound to walk the dogs during one hour each day the facility was open.
As word spread and more volunteers joined, Friends of Falmouth Dogs was officially formed, a mission statement drafted, and an adoption program created. The group asked the Falmouth selectmen if the volunteers could operate the program out of the town's dog pound and selectmen gave their approval.
And fundraising began in earnest -- bake sales; dog walks, photos with Santa, T-shirt sales, and craft fairs.
From those humble beginnings, the program has grown considerably.
1999 to Today
In 1999, Fall Annual Town Meeting approved $250,000 for a new facility, to which the Friends contributed another $85,000. Construction began the following spring on the new facility on Blacksmith Shop Road in West Falmouth, and the new shelter was completed in the summer of 2001.
In 2002, the Cynthia Fox House was dedicated. Funded by the Fox family in memory of Mrs. Fox, the little cottage provides a cozy, sheltered room to visit with dogs in a home-like setting.
Also in 2002, the Paula Reppmann Pet Assistance Fund was created to help pets in the community facing major medical procedures that their owners could not afford. The fund was named in memory of the mother of one of the Friends' founders.
The following year, a Memorial Garden was established, where volunteers and adopters commemorate their pets that have died with markers, trees, benches, and plantings. The same year, a new dog playground with agility equipment was built, funded by a donation earmarked for "something special for the dogs."
In 2004, a trail was cleared behind the pound, giving walkers and dogs new places to explore. Clearing the trail was also funded by a private donation in memory of a former pound dog.
Donations over the years have also allowed the Friends of Falmouth Dogs to sponsor spay/neuter clinics, heartworm clinics, and financial help with obedience training.
And as important as all these enhancements are, the Friends are most grateful for the families who have adopted the 1,000 dogs that have passed through the doors since the group began 20 years ago.
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