Bev Orr has been saving animals for nearly three decades. She has loved animals all of her life and has seen the goodness in people’s hearts as well as the ruthless cruelty of which they are capable.
“I took a phone call a long time ago that I will never forget,” says Orr, president of Last Hope, Inc. animal shelter in Farmington. “The man said, ‘I have nine Lab puppies here that I need you to take, and if you don’t—I’m digging a hole in the backyard and killing them.”
Even though Orr had very little space left at her shelter, she took in the puppies and saw that they were well taken care of. She even made sure that the man brought in the mother to be spayed to avoid future litters.
“It is hard to believe that somebody would do that,” says Orr. “I just don’t understand it.”
But Orr also knows that there are many good people out there who do whatever they can to help an animal in need. That includes a woman who stopped in a blinding snowstorm to pick up two puppies who had been thrown out of a moving truck as it passed her.
“I got a panicked call at 10 o’clock at night,” says Orr. “I told her that I couldn’t do anything right now, but if you wait until morning, I will be right there.”
The woman was not allowed to have pets in her apartment, but she snuck the animals inside and was able to keep the puppies alive and well until the snowstorm passed and the roads opened up.
“I truly have never met an animal that I didn’t love,” says Orr. “I’ve met some people in my time that I wouldn’t allow in my home! But these animals are so innocent and don’t deserve the things that happen to them.”
Orr and her husband, who works with her to help the animals, began their work in 1984. In their 27 years of dedication, they have amassed more than 900 members who help to cover the costs of food, bedding, shelter, veterinary care, and other expenses that average about $20,000 every month.
“We are so blessed to have the support that we have,” says Orr.
The main goal of Last Hope, Inc. is to find “forever” homes for these animals. However, Orr is as understanding as she can be when it comes to relinquishing a pet—she knows that times are very tough. “I know people have no intention of giving that animal up when they adopt him. That does not mean that they are not wonderful people. It means that they are making the right decision by bringing their animal to us instead of abandoning him,” explains Orr.
Aside from acting as a shelter for homeless animals, Last Hope, Inc. also educates people on the proper care of animals, promotes spaying and neutering as the way to end pet overpopulation, and provides emergency medical care to ensure high quality of life.
“I’ve found that people who are good to animals are often good to people,” says Orr, whose attitude has stayed upbeat and positive despite dealing with some tough situations. “We have such a good group of supporters. I call it ‘The Chain of Love,’ and every person that helps becomes a link in that chain.”
To become a link in that chain, Orr suggests adopting from a shelter, fostering a shelter animal (especially a cat), and promoting spay and neuter services.
For more information, please visit Last-Hope.org.