HOULTON, Maine — Lorraine Monfils already spends a huge chunk of her time caring for animals. The proprietor of the Hollywood Pet Salon operates the full-time pet grooming business in Market Square and holds events to promote pet adoptions and to raise money for needy animals.
Now Monfils wants to do more. Approximately three months ago, she and a team of volunteers created the Ark Animal Sanctuary, a cageless, no-kill shelter for homeless animals.
“We are working on getting nonprofit status and we have volunteers who are doing so much to help,” Monfils said last week. “There are animals out there who are in desperate need of help and anything that we can do to help them, I want to do.”
The temporary sanctuary has been established inside the salon, where several cats and kittens were being housed Thursday afternoon. Monfils also has foster homes lined up to take in homeless animals. Volunteers have created and are maintaining the sanctuary’s Web site and local artist Kim Forrest created a logo for the sanc-tuary at no cost.
Monfils and her fellow volunteers are looking for a permanent home for the facility. She hopes to find a building with acreage in the area where animals of all types can roam free. Montfils said she feels that animals need to have freedom from cages so that they can get exercise and so their muscles do not atrophy.
Right now, securing a home is the major goal.
“We really do not want to have a mortgage,” said Monfils. “That is why we are hoping to receive a donated facility. It does not have to be in great shape, because we are not afraid of hard work.”
Monfils said animals that come to the facility would be spayed or neutered before being put up for adoption.
Right now, potential pet owners will find that adoption fees will be waived for all adult animals. Those who want to adopt a kitten from the sanctuary must make an appointment with a veterinarian and pay for the animal to be spayed or neutered. Potential kitten owners also must make arrangements for the animal to have its first shots before the adoption can be completed. All of this can be proved by bringing receipts for the procedures to the Ark Animal Sanctuary.
Monfils said that she has numerous ideas to fund the sanctuary. People already have donated handmade items, such as pillows and quilts, to sell to benefit the organization. Once a permanent home for the sanctuary is found, Monfils said, she wants to continue selling those items. She also wants to plant a vegetable garden on the grounds and have chickens so that produce and farm-fresh eggs can be sold to support the facility.
Monfils is planning a fundraiser later this month to raise money, and donors who take bottles to the Florence Avenue Redemption Center can have the proceeds donated to the sanctuary.
“We will not be asking communities for money,” she said. “We will not have paid employees.”
At this point, most stray animals are taken to the Houlton Animal Shelter. Monfils said she does not want the Ark Animal Sanctuary to compete with the shelter.
“We want to help the shelter,” she said. “We want to be an extension of them. We are trying to help all of the animals we can.”
For more information on the Ark Animal Sanctuary, go to www.arksanctuary.com or call 532-7387. You can see animals that are ready to adopt at the Hollywood Pet Salon at 70 Main St., Houlton.