After three years of work, the unveiling of a new trailer Tuesday fulfilled a local girl's goal to help homeless dogs and cats.
Shelby Dunphy-Day thanked supporters and sponsors before volunteers pulled a tarp off the Texarkana Animal Care and Adoption Center's new adoption trailer, bringing applause from well-wishers gathered at the Arkansas Convention Center.
Her organization Shelby's P.A.W.S. raised $32,000 to pay for the climate-controlled trailer, which can be used as an extension of the center at adoption drives elsewhere and can serve as an emergency animal shelter during disasters. It features its own generator and plenty of storage space for food and water.
"Whenever the trailer can take the animals places, it's easier for people to adopt them who can't always come to the shelter because they either haven't heard of it or they don't know where it is," Shelby said.
The trailer will be a valuable tool for the animal shelter, Adoption Center Director Charles Lokey said.
"We're going to be able to get more exposure out in the community, maybe bring more awareness to people about how they need to be more responsible and spay or neuter their animals. It will help find them good homes. And if we have an emergency, it will give us the ability to go to that emergency and to be able to help with people and their animals right there on site," Lokey said.
The trailer will go out full of adoptable pets about every other weekend to locations such as PetSmart and Lowe's Home Improvement stores.
"It's going to get worked," Lokey said.
Beginning in 2016, three annual "six-leg" 5K races, in which participants run with their pets, have been the main fundraiser for Shelby's P.A.W.S. She organized the first race when she was an 11-year-old fifth-grader.
"Shelby's P.A.W.S.' mission is to promote youth volunteerism within our community, animal adoption, spaying and neutering, and encourage others to be leaders and community advocates," she said.
Acquiring the trailer has been the goal from the beginning, but Shelby's P.A.W.S. is not stopping now. What to do next is already under discussion.
"There's been a couple of ideas thrown around, between an animal clinic and a couple things to help kids, so we're looking forward to that," Shelby said.
On Twitter: @RealKarlRichter