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Baptist-DeSoto nurses Cindy McCune, Ellen Newsom, Jo Ryan, Sandra Aiken, Jeannie Stoy, and Kim Collier, Krystal Baker, and Marti Campbell provided dog food to Blackwell Animal Rescue Center, represented by Vicki Blackwell, Betty Sumler, Jim Davila, Chuck Reinhorn, Tiffany and David Duron.

An animal rescue center in Southaven has received a helping hand to feed its “furry friends” from nurses at a DeSoto County hospital.

Blackwell Animal Rescue Center (BARC), started in 2014 by animal lover and local real estate broker Vicki Blackwell, was the beneficiary of 300 bags of dog food from a group of nurses at Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven, who gathered and collected the food for the center.

The presentation and photo opportunity with BARC volunteers, Blackwell and many of the nurses involved took place late last week at the hospital.

Blackwell founded the rescue center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit to promote domestic animal welfare in DeSoto County and surrounding areas through rescue, rehabilitation, sanctuary, and adoption services. Since then BARC has rescued, rehabilitated and placed into new homes over 1,400 animals.

“Most of these animals have been dogs, along with dozens of cats, one bunny and one pig,” Blackwell said.

BARC is an all-volunteer organization who network and transport these animals to various rescue groups in the northern part of the United Staes.

“Northern states have mandatory spay-neuter laws so they do not have an abundance of animals like we have in our area,” Blackwell pointed out. “Pals For Paws in Kokomo, Ind., Paws to Chicago, Colorado Animal Rescue, along with Wings (an aviation transport for dogs) are a few of the organizations BARC works with to transport animals to loving homes.”

One example of the northward flight came about two years ago, when a Wings of Rescue flight took eight cats and as many as 44 dogs to a no-kill pet shelter in Tacoma, Wash. There have been similar flights since then.

Wings of Rescue is a California-based operation that flies at-risk animals to less crowded areas away from the Mid-South with tighter spay-neuter traditions.

Those animals that are obtained by BARC are temporarily housing pets up for adoption at the DeSoto County Animal Shelter. The group is working, however, to acquire a large tract of land for a sanctuary and adoption center.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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