Shelter has dogs climbing the walls

Whitley County High School senior Thomas Bird painted several famous cartoon dogs on the walls of the new Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.
Whitley County High School senior Thomas Bird painted several famous cartoon dogs on
the walls of the new Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.

Photo by Dean Manning

By Dean Manning

For the Mountain Advocate

While other students have battled boredom as the number of days of school missed because of weather piles up, Whitley County High School senior Thomas Bird has spent his time adding some characters to the new Knox/Whitley Animal Shelter.

The teen, who said he plans to go to college to study graphic arts, has spent the last week working in the dog kennel area bringing to life drawings of Snoopy, Droopy, and Brian, the dog who appears on the animated series, “Family Guy.”

“I like Snoopy the best,” Bird said. “He turned out perfect.”

Shelter Director Deanna Myers said the project started when Ken Bird, who is doing some of the masonry work at the shelter, drew the cartoon characters on the wall near the entrance to the quarantine area.

Ken Bird brought Thomas to the shelter to paint the drawings.

“This is the first time I have painted something like this,” Thomas Bird said, adding he was pleased with how the work looks. “It was pretty fun.”

Thomas Bird said the construction noise didn’t bother him as he worked.

“I’m used to it,” Bird said.

The characters were selected by Myers, who printed out copies of pictures from the Intranet.

Myers said Tuesday that Thomas Bird has added several generic cartoon dogs to the work and she would like to see more famous cartoon dogs added to the walls.

“We hope to have Scooby and we have to do Underdog,” Myers said, adding that she has talked about adding Garfield and Heathcliff to the walls of the cat room.

Myers said renovations to the former 10,000 square-foot former coal site reclamation facility off of Fifth Street Road is continuing with the goal of opening sometime in April.

Work is continuing on the kennels in the dog area and the installation of the drop ceiling.

“We still have kennels that are available for door plaques,” Myers said, explaining that anyone who pledges $600 to cover the cost of the 500 blocks needed to build a kennel will have a plaque placed on a kennel noting the donation.

The facility has hookups for two washers and two dryers, but is in need of the appliances.

Other items needed include: raised dog beds, stainless steel bowls and 284 ceiling tiles.

“We are always in need of pet food, cat litter, towels and other linens, collars and harnesses, toys and, of course, any monetary donation is greatly appreciated,” Myers said.

The shelter has accounts where donations may be directly deposited established at Community Trust, Forcht and Hometown banks. In addition the shelter has an account set up through Paypal.

More information about the shelter and ways to help is available online at or on Facebook at Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter.

The shelter serves Clay, Knox, McCreary and Whitley counties.

The former shelter facility on Ky. 6 in Woodbine was destroyed by fire on Nov. 29, 2013.

Several cats, along with, “Sassy,” the resident shelter dog, were killed in the fire

For several weeks afterwards, the shelter operated out of temporary facilities at the old shelter site.

On Dec. 17, shelter officials moved to the temporary location on Fifth Street Road. The former A&J Lawn Mower repair building was offered at a reduced rental rate by owner Ralph Rogers.

Shelter officials used insurance money and proceeds from the sale of the old property to purchase the new building from Doug and Jackie Sizemore for $250,000.