Couple volunteers by the "basket-full"

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By Zach Osowski

What started out as a trip to pick up a cat has turned in to so much more for Fred and Dottie Fellows of La Grange.

Three years ago the Fellows went to the Animal Care Society to adopt a cat after their last cat passed away.

“We thought about not getting another one,” Fred Fellows said. “And we made it about a week before we decided it was just too lonely without a pet.”

So they went to the Animal Care Society, a no-kill shelter on Westport Road in Louisville, and were so touched by what the shelter did for abandoned animals the Fellows decided they needed to help.

Now every winter and spring they spend their free time scouring flea markets, consignment shops and garage sales for wicker baskets.

Fred Fellows said the shelter raises money every year by selling gift baskets around the holidays and the couple takes it upon themselves to find baskets that can be filled with goodies and then auctioned.

This year, Fred and Dottie found 404 baskets for the shelter. Some of them are perfect, while others have to be fixed and painted, which Fred does. Then they load the baskets up in a trailer and take them off to the shelter.

Colleen Morton, the adoption counselor at the Animal Care Society, said the basket sale is one of its biggest fundraisers and is crucial to keeping the shelter running.

“They need all those baskets because of the themes they have,” Morton said, adding that people could buy a large variety of baskets from cat or dog-themed to wine-themed baskets.

Morton said the success of the program and the shelter was thanks to volunteers. She said the shelter is a very volunteer-driven organization, and people came in to help with the day-to-day care of the animals as well as maintenance of the building and grounds.

She said the Fellows have especially blessed the shelter.

“They are wonderful people,” Morton said. “And the amount they do goes above and beyond. Fred has hauled things for us, taken away trees and even spent all day fixing a gutter problem.”

The Fellows said they are just happy to help a shelter, especially one with a no-kill policy.

“We get a good feeling out of helping,” Fred Fellows said. “I wish more people would try and help.”

Thanks in part to the help of Fred and Dottie, the shelter will sell a thousand gift baskets during a three-day sale in December. The funds go toward keeping the shelter running.

Dottie said since the shelter is no-kill and privately owned, they don’t get any government funding and rely completely on contributions.

“This is a good organization that can always use volunteers,” she said. “We as a society need to do more for our animal friends.”


 Email us about this story at zach@oldhamera.com