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Jo Alice Davis, right, visits with fellow Red River County Humane Society volunteer Diann Hulen at the Davis home outside Clarksville while several rescue dogs listen in on the conversation. Miss Bug, the first Davis rescue dog, sits next to her mom. 

CLARKSVILLE — A long-time resident here in this Northeast Texas city had no idea 11 years ago that a stray dog would lead to her involvement as one of three volunteers with the Red River County Humane Society.

“They suckered me in hook, line and sinker,” Jo Alice Davis quipped as she shared the story about Miss Bug, who came to her house almost 11 years ago and delivered eight puppies underneath a shed out back on a hot July day. “I just had to get them out, so I cleaned out the fireplace and brought them in the house.”

Davis shared about the puppies with an acquaintance at the former Clarksville hospital where she worked.

“She said, ‘Oh, I am a member of the Red River County Humane Society,” Davis said of fellow volunteer Diann Hulen. “‘If you will keep them until they are 8 weeks old, we’ll get them their shots, get them all spayed and neutered and find them a home.’”

Today, Davis lives with her husband, six rescue dogs, including Miss Bug, and several cats in a modest home outside the city off Highway 82.

From her living room last week, Davis and Hulen shared about efforts to continue the work of the organization that started more than 20 years ago when Beth Vogel began an adoption program that has found homes for hundreds of dogs and cats.

“Beth used to take in strays, foster them out and then take them in a van to Colorado to a PetSmart to be adopted,” Hulen said. “More recently we took dogs to PetSmart stores in the McKinney and Frisco area but the area has become saturated, and we are all getting older now and can’t do it anymore.”

Although the adoption program is not what it used to be, the society continues a spay/neuter voucher program.

“We provide spay/neuter vouchers to any Red River County resident and for anyone who adopts out of the Clarksville City Shelter,” Davis said, explaining vouchers range anywhere from $40 to $70 according to need and request. “We also provide pet food to elderly citizens and others who cannot afford it; and we donate food to the Clarksville Animal Shelter.”

In 2000, the group issued more than 350 vouchers. Although the society restricts vouchers to Red River County residents and to those who adopt from the Clarksville shelter, the vouchers are good at veterinarians in Reno and Paris, and other nearby cities as well as at the Animal Protection League mobile site that comes to Atwoods in Paris.

The group has turned to social media to provide other services, like helping owners with lost pets and assisting people in matching dogs with new owners.

“We have more than 16,000 followers on our Facebook page,” Davis said. “If someone calls me with a litter of dogs or kittens, I will get them to send pictures for me to post along with phone numbers. That way, I am not the middle person going back and forth.”

Davis and Hulen expressed the need for volunteers to assist with the program, along with a continued need for donations to keep the program alive.

“We always need more volunteers or foster homes for unwanted animals before transporting or adoptions are coordinated,” Davis said. “Although we do have a couple of grants and some faithful supporters, we are always in need of funds.”

Like other nonprofit organizations, donations to the Red River County Humane Society are tax deductible. To see about volunteer opportunities or to make a donation, call 903-966-2275.

Mary Madewell is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6976 or at mary.madewell@theparisnews.com.

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