Dog Days at Cumberland Pointe

Residents support Belmont County Shelter

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Furry friends at Belmont County Animal Shelter received some valuable support from the residents, staff and families of the Cumberland Pointe Care Center.

Belmont County Dog Warden Lisa Williams visited the center Thursday to collect the donation and brought one of the dogs to meet the residents.

“It’s been great,” said center Director Carri Rejonis. “We’ve done really well. We started the collection about a month ago and raised close to $300 in cash, and I would say we had close to $300 in items … Dog food, toys, bowls, blankets. There were dog toys, cat toys, cat treats. It was (from) residents, families staff and the community.”

She said this was the first such drive but the center hopes to make it an annual event.

“It was really exciting to know we had so much participation and support,” said Rejonis. “It’s been great for the residents. They really enjoy helping the community. They’ve been active members of the community for the majority of their lives, so it’s been a good thing.”

Williams said she agreed.

“This is fabulous,” she said. “It’s wonderful, and it’s good for the clients here to be part of the community, and our dogs, we don’t have a big budget, so any help we can get, we appreciate … Right now we’re low on dog treats. (The donations) are full of dog treats … We have a lot of animals to feed.”

Residents had a celebration Thursday after the donation drive. Gage Joseph from Bellaire performed and sang, and Williams brought Babygirl, one of the shelter’s dogs, to visit.

“There’s a core group of (residents) that are very active,” said Gretchen Derfler, president of the residents council. “We try to get the community involved if possible. When this (fundraiser) was brought up at the last residents council meeting, I made several posts on Facebook, pictures of the (donation) baskets went out. I try to do door-to-doors with the residents once a month to check out concerns and remind them of what’s going on. Ask if they need help to get to something and ask what they would like to have. We like to keep it very resident-oriented.”

She said the fundraiser generated excitement.

“The thought of having any furry animals here, they absolutely love when somebody brings a pet,” Derfler said. “When they heard we were collecting for the animal shelter, there was a good bit of interest … It brings out the child in them. You see people who generally don’t smile because of their medical conditions or lack of visitation or whatever perk up immediately. I would like to see it be a yearly thing.”