The call came just as I was setting the table for Sunday dinner. Her voice is occasionally wiped out by the sound of a car roaring by. “Help me! I’m standing in the middle of Highway 19 trying to catch a starving German Shepherd and her puppy. Can I bring them to you? A friend gave me your number and said you would take them.”

I continue setting plates on the table and talk to the phone cradled in my shoulder, explaining once again that I can’t take the dogs and there is nothing humane to do with them if she catches them. Our county has no public shelter and surrounding counties will not take Pike County dogs.  (See background story Weaving a Grassroots Safety Net for Homeless Animals.)

“There’s no way I can afford to keep them! The mama dog is so poor she probably doesn’t weigh 30 pounds. ” The caller’s wail is so loud I have to remove the phone for a moment and wait for a break to ask my all-important question.

“If I can get food, emergency medical care and spay/neuter services for them can you keep them safe until you find them a new home?” The stunned silence tells me all I need to know. She goes back to trying to get the dogs off the highway, and I send an email to Charity Hurt of Coco’s Cupboard before sitting down to dinner. By the time we finish eating, the dogs are safely at the caller’s home and Charity has sent me an email saying a bag of dog food is being delivered to her. This incident ends with the Good Samaritan keeping the mama dog because Coco’s can cover the start-up costs and spaying. The pup is taken by a friend of the Good Samaritan who doesn’t even need help from Coco’s to cover the costs of his new pet. We’ve proved once again that compassionate people working together can make a difference without over-taxing any one person’s resources.

Charity started Coco’s Cupboard in honor of a faithful spaniel mix she rescued from another highway in our county.  For days after her elderly owner was struck and killed by a car, the little dog continued to pace the busy road. During the rescue, Charity discovered Coco also had a litter of pups. With the help of friends and CARE, Inc, Charity had the entire dog family desexed before adopting out the pups and taking Coco into her own family. With nothing more than word of mouth to gather donations, Charity began providing pet food and other supplies to low-income pet owners as well as compassionate people who rescue pets from the highway.

 CocoFrom that humble beginning in the autumn of 2010, Coco’s has grown into a lean, fast-acting, non-profit with official 501(c)3 status. Coco’s Cupboard Facebook site has become the clearing house for posting photos of lost, found, or abandoned pets in Pike County, GA. Readers follow the often dramatic events that come from some of the postings. Not all of them end happily, but they all reinforce the importance of what we are doing.

Jessica Bryant
2/2/2012 8:05:39 PM

Greetings! I wanted to tell you about a magazine I am helping start in Boone NC, it is dedicated to helping animals find homes and may be a great addition to your community. The website for the magazine is Some of the citites they publish in also run non profit groups for rescues and have had great success in placing animals. If you have any questoins or if there is anything I can do to help contact me at So glad to see this post. we appreciate everything you are doing and are all trying to do our part to help homeless animals!

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