An unofficial corporate mascot named Brownie, an angry neighbor and the subsequent euthanizing of a dog, already promised a home, was the straw that broke the camel's back for a local couple who were among several people attempting to rescue the abandoned animal.
It's also what sparked the idea of For Pet's Sake, a not-for-profit foundation organized by Claire and Steve Brock, of Monett, to help low-income, disabled and elderly people spay or neuter their animals to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens.
"Someone had dumped this a litter of puppies near our place of work," Claire said. "All but one disappeared. She lived at the edge of the woods and ran whenever someone approached her. But she became our unofficial mascot.
"Several employees took it upon themselves to provide food and shelter for her and tried to tame her down enough to catch her and take her to a new home.
"Before we could catch her, authorities received a complaint about her and sent someone to capture and euthanize her," she continued. "They gave her the shot even as I was running toward them yelling, 'I have a home for her!' It didn't matter.
"Brownie was never taken to the shelter," Claire said. "She was never given a chance. And that broke my heart."
Shaken by the experience, Steve and Claire decided to do their part in preventing a repeat scenario from unfolding in front of their eyes again.
"People get kittens and puppies for pets and don't spay or neuter the animal and then they wind up with unwanted litters," Claire said. "Instead of being responsible, they dump them off somewhere. The animal may find a home or it might get injured or killed on the road.
"For a lot of pet owners, it's a matter of money," she continued. "Or apathy. Especially with owners of male dogs or cats. They let the animal out to roam but don't consider how many litters may result from that."
"We offer people the opportunity to apply for funding to get their pets altered," added Steve. "Costs for the surgery is based on animal size, so it's best to get it done early.
"We know in this economy that people are struggling to make ends meet," he continued. "So far we've been able to accommodate everyone who has requested help."
Assistance is not limited to spay or neuter services. The foundation also works through a local veterinary clinic to provide flea and tick medications, pet food and some minor medical services.
"Our total funding has been through the kindness of others," Steve said. "Several individuals have contributed to the foundation in an effort to support our work."
In the year since the foundation was organized, approximately 30 pet owners have received assistance.
"We've helped single mothers, elderly people and handicapped individuals," Steve said. "We'd love to be able to do more, but we are only able to provide what we can and quit when we can't."
The couple is in the process of filing for a 501 C 3 federal not-for-profit status in order to be eligible for funding from other agencies and grant opportunities.
"We are also trying to come up with some new fundraising ideas," Steve said. "Last year we held a golf tournament. We are trying to plan a fall tournament locally."
"It's a pleasant surprise when we see people so enthusiastic about our organization and want to do something," said Claire. "People from work have been very supportive.
"Our main purpose is to stop unwanted puppies and kittens from being dumped," Claire said.
Applications for assistance are available at Crosslines, located at Sixth and Cleveland Streets in Monett.
The couple is accepting donations from those who would like assist in the foundation's mission. Donations may be sent to: For Pet's Sake, P.O. Box 261, Monett, MO. 65708.