In March, Alaqua Animal Refuge hosted Lee Asher with The Asher House, who is currently embarking on a cross-country journey to help get dogs adopted from animal shelters and into loving homes.
Mr. Asher’s mission is to bring actual action to animal rescue, not just awareness. With the purchase of a 48-foot RV, he has made a commitment to get at least get 48 dogs adopted, one in every state. His adventure began on February 1 of this year, and he has already visited 10 states with 38 to go. He anticipates the trip will be complete in early August.
Visiting shelters is a venue for educating people about the positive side of animal refuges, in an effort to show that there are great dogs of all breeds just waiting to go to into loving homes. By hosting events at local shelters and locations across the country, Mr. Asher’s aim is to get people in the shelters and showcase the amazing animals that are inside, as well as the loving bond that can be formed with rescue pets.
His six dogs have a large part to do with that as well. Mr. Asher also helps with adoption fees and food for the adopter if an animal is adopted through one of his appearances.
“Many people I meet believe that animal shelters are cold and sad, and tend to not want to visit,” Mr. Asher said. “And it’s true, many rescue dogs in shelters have lost their hope for life, and their disposition often says they know they aren’t leaving. But when you rescue a dog from a shelter, you see a transformation in the dog when they leave.” Speaking about the bond his own six rescue dogs developed, Mr. Asher said “they stick together and protect each other.”
Mr. Asher gained popularity through his fun-loving content on social media, including posts of him and his six rescue dogs, all in an effort to promote adopting rescue dogs. His posts have shown his animals enjoying life—swimming, hiking, walking, and loving.
“It’s pretty cool to know you’re responsible for saving this dog’s life. It’s just a good feeling,” he said.
Alaqua was chosen as a “must stop” location after Kelly Willis, Asher’s event coordinator, shared with him that she had heard many wonderful things about Alaqua—about the reason of its founding, its location in the Florida Panhandle, and its overall reputation after her parents moved to the area four years ago.
“After Lee started talking about putting this mission together, I knew Alaqua had to be one of his stops,” she said. “It symbolized everything he is trying to convey to the world about animal rescue.”
Alaqua shares a similar belief as Mr. Asher—that all animals deserve a second chance, to be rescued, to be loved, and the opportunity to love again. Alaqua is also a perfect example of a shelter and refuge for animals of all kinds, that is far from being sad, but yet instead is peaceful, happy and serene.
Mr. Asher would eventually like to start a shelter of his own, and after his visit, he would like to model it after Alaqua.
Alaqua founder Laurie Hood couldn’t be happier. “This is exactly what we want to happen with our expansion and relocation. We want to keep doing all the great things we are doing now to save animals’ lives, but we also want to be an educational and training center to empower others to help animals and recreate our model worldwide.”
Stay tuned—the journey is just starting. To follow Lee Asher on his quest, visit TheAsherHouse.com and follow @TheAsherHouse on Instagram. For more information about Alaqua’s relocation plans, visit Alaqua.org.
– Mary Chris Murry
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