Find Your Best Friend

Find Your Best Friend

The West Feliciana Animal Humane Society is More Than a Rescue

Words by Mary Alayne B. Long

If you follow my adventures on Instagram, you know that a large part of my time is spent caring for our three dogs, Sugar Bear, Dixie, and Molly. When people see the way I behave around these dogs, they sometimes think I don’t actually have live, human children whom I carried inside of myself and delivered into this world. I do, in fact, have two glorious children, and they are the greatest gifts I will ever receive. I am also a fool for my dogs. You do know two things can be true at the same time, right? I freely admit the way I swoon over my pets it is at times quite ridiculous. Alas, God has given me a heart for animals, and that’s not at all something I am the least bit sorry about. 

I can’t lie to you—Sugar Bear, our prissy Pomeranian, and Dixie, our champion chocolate Lab, came to us with papers and family histories and lah-de-dah, whoop-de-doo breeding lines fully in place. So, I surely can’t say anything to anyone who decides to buy a dog. I get it. Molly, on the other hand, is a rescue. As in, my husband found her starving in the woods and we saved her life, kind of rescue. Truly, the vet told us she had about 36 hours left to live if we hadn’t scooped her up and brought her home. She was covered in fleas and ticks—and of course had heart worms. (Public service announcement: Give your dogs the heartworm preventive! The prescribed treatment and recovery is no fun at all. I’ve even written about Molly for this very magazine in the past, and her story is one I often share. I will begrudgingly go on and tell you that the money we’ve spent on that dog—who is currently wearing a harness to assist me in lifting her as she can’t, at this particular moment, get up and down on her own—has funded at the bare minimum a lake house for our lovely veterinarian and possibly the college tuition for at least one of her children. My heart for animals grew exponentially once Molly came to live with us. It didn’t take me long to understand what people mean when they say rescue dogs rescue you. It’s true. I never before knew that animals could show gratitude, but this dog is unbelievably grateful for the home we’ve given her. Because of Molly, I would be hard-pressed to ever buy a dog ever again. I’m an “adopt don’t shop” girl now, and my admiration for the amazing people who help rescue animals and find them loving homes each and every day is great indeed. 

That’s why I have chosen to tell you all about the very fine folks at West Feliciana Animal Humane Society (WFAHS) in St. Francisville, Louisiana. When it comes to making an impact in the community and caring for lost, stray, and struggling pets, they are pretty darn near the top of the list. I learned about this shelter when my friend Brandon Branch hosted a fundraiser at his St. Francisville Inn a while back. I had planned to be in town for a visit to his lovely inn and decided to make the trip while the fundraiser was taking place. I’m not one to shy away from a good silent auction, and any excuse to visit Brandon is a good one, so it seemed too good to pass up. Not to mention—the food at The Saint is second to none. As I predicted, the meal was great, I racked up at the silent auction, Brandon and I had a ball (and ended up at the beach the next day—but that’s another story), and I absolutely fell in love with all the folks who support and maintain the animal shelter. They work together to provide a safe, healthy, and caring environment for pets in need. Whether they’re searching for the owners of lost animals or finding foster or adoptive homes for their furry friends, they keep the animals safe and feeling loved for as long as necessary. 

WFAHS was founded in 2012 after a beloved community member, James “Bo” Bryant, left a legacy of donated funds for the construction of a shelter, and since that time their work has not gone unnoticed. At one time there were simply a few kennels kept out behind the parish jail, but with Mr. Bryant’s generosity, WFAHS is now able to save 95 percent of the animals they serve. Before they came on the scene, that rate was less than 10 percent. For me to tell you they are doing great and important work is putting it mildly. 

Like most animal shelters, volunteers and foster homes are always needed, and they welcome applications from anyone in the community who is interested in helping them with their mission to find loving families for the animals in their care. And of course, this shelter depends largely on the donations they receive from those who are happy to support their work. They are always grateful for any size donation, and you can count on your money being put to good use. 

If you don’t have room to bring home another four-legged friend, I encourage you to find a way to support a shelter near you. I can assure you that they will be more grateful than you could ever imagine. 

To learn more about West Feliciana Animal Humane Society, or to make a donation, please visit them at