Shine Ministry Spotlight: Jim Wells County Pets Alive with Bekah Chiarello
Spotlight gives ministries the opportunity to share their passion to connect with others who may want to contribute or partner with their mission.
Are you one to root for the underdog? Does your heart hurt when you see helpless animals suffering through no fault of their own? Do you feel overwhelmed with emotion over cases of animal neglect and abuse? Are you parallelized in taking the first step, because the issue is so big you don’t know where to start? You can now choose to have a part in creating a story that helps not only an underdog but also the volunteers who dedicate themselves 24/7 to help those animals.
Margaret Mead made famous the saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Read Bekah’s story in bringing alive her non-profit to help those who have no voice. Perhaps you’ll write yourself into the story and provide much needed resources to continue the work of making a difference by helping one dog or cat.
Who is Jim Wells County Pets Alive?
Jim Wells County Pets Alive (JWCPA) is a small non-profit in Sandia, Texas, which is about an hour and a half drive west of Corpus Christi. They are giving a second chance at life to unwanted dogs and cats. With a small network of volunteers who help with in-home fostering, animal transport, networking, and social media sharing, JWCPA has an ambitious mission to change the rescue landscape in this rural area. Bekah, the non-profit’s founder, has a dream to (1) develop a robust spay/neuter program, (2) ensure successful long-term adoption for shelter pets, (3) educate government locals and residents of county animal ordinances, and (4) launch an owner-pet retention program.
How Did Jim Wells County Pets Alive Get Started?
Bekah, currently a local animal control officer, has always had a heart for animals. Referring to herself as more a cat person, she fondly remembers when Lizzy would wait for her to get off the bus, so they could walk home together after school. In high school, Bekah worked in a vet clinic where she learned how to treat dogs and cats under a veterinarian’s care. She eventually graduated college with a B.S in biology, but quickly determined that her call was to help the animals versus studying them. She also volunteered on weekends at local shelters, transporting over 400 animals to Corpus for low-cost spay/neuter and helping with hoarder houses. Eventually, she purchased a 2.5-acre property that gave her more room to foster between 5 to 10 dogs at any given time, using a spare bedroom to segregate the sick or too young.
As a rural animal control officer, she now helps local law enforcement uphold protection ordinances that most residents and even some government entities are not aware of. Her partner stays home to work directly with the rescue and support the daily needs of their fosters and own pets. After dedicating 20 to 40 hours per week to rescue efforts, in 2017, Bekah created a 501(c)3 with the hope that people would be led to donate to her mission.
Where is Jim Wells County Pets Alive Going?
Bekah’s vision for the non-profit is to empower the local people to be part of real solutions. She wants to turn lack luster animal control into activism in the shelter environment. What might that look like? Jim Wells has started a research project to bring the intel that quantifies the magnitude of this problem, so people and non-profit grant monies can help solve the problem.
Did you know that in big cities, about 10% of the adopted animals are not spayed/neutered, but in rural areas, where shelters don’t have financial support, 95% of dogs and cats are adopted out unspayed? What happens next? Most female animals are returned to the shelter just days before they are to give birth, because owners don’t want to deal with a litter. There is also a lack of basic vaccinations and medical care. Families routinely return pets to the shelter, because they can’t afford medical treatment when these adopted animals get sick.
Unlike major cities that have policies and funding to spay and neuter pets before adoption, the rural shelters barely have space to kennel stray or surrendered animals. If funds for spaying and basic medical care were available, the rural shelters could change the landscape for local pets. Basic animal education and behavioral training are a few solutions that can answer the call as well as animal networking across the country to place dogs and cats into forever homes.
Dixie was born in late January 2019 with three brothers. The mother was hit by a car, and the four siblings were kept in a 10 ft. by 5 ft. outdoor kennel. Emaciated and full of worms, Bekah would routinely visit the property and beg the owner to give up the puppies, so she could rehome them. He released the brothers but kept the female for his daughter. Bekah continued to return to check on Dixie. Once Bekah found the cage flooded, and Dixie was only able to lay down in standing water. Finally, the man relented and released Dixie to Bekah. Melissa, a foster volunteer, nursed Dixie back to health. Bekah connected with New Hope Cattle Dog Rescue, who was willingly to transport Dixie to Colorado and find her a forever home.
Dixie was to have a one-night Houston hotel stay at the Dillon home before catching transport to Colorado. We fell in love with this quirky girl who eats anything including grass, bark, pinecones, pine needles, and twigs. We attribute her behavior to being forced to forage for food. Dixie has a second chance at a new and better life, because of Bekah and the Jim Wells County Pets Alive team.
You Can Help Be Part of the Solution
The innocent victims are the dogs and cats who need your help. Would you be able to contribute something to Bekah and her nonprofit to help change the lives of these furbabies? Your money goes directly to help the animals with spay/neuter, medical care and supplies, and transportation costs for their welfare of the animals. Any amount helps, even $5. There are several ways you can give and make a difference:
- Donate through the JWCPA’s Facebook Page
- Buy a few items from the JWCPA’s Amazon Wishlist
- Foster for a dog or cat in need
- Create a Facebook fundraiser by clicking the button (create fundraiser) on JWCPA’s Facebook Page
- Volunteer to transport dogs and cats both short and long haul
- Adopt a rescue dog
You can also LIKE their Facebook page and spread the word. Your LIKE may connect someone who will be moved and want to be part of writing a new chapter in this story.
If you have questions, Bekah would love to hear from you. She is a woman on a mission to change the world one dog and one cat at a time. You can reach Bekah at firstname.lastname@example.org or 361.673.3909.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon who has a heart for ministry and servant leadership and can be found in the mission field coaching on relationships and marriage strengthening, drilling water wells, installing filtration systems, and teaching hygiene. You can contact Sandra at email@example.com