If any of you drive west of Neosho on 86 Highway you have probably noticed some activity at the Faithful Friends property.

If any of you drive west of Neosho on 86 Highway you have probably noticed some activity at the Faithful Friends property.

Yes, the construction of our no-kill adoption center has finally begun, thanks to the hard work of very dedicated people and the financial support of those who believe that what we do is a good thing for animals, for our community, and for the world we live in.

In May of 2008 a group of people who cared about the plight of unwanted dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in Newton and McDonald county sat down to talk about what we might do to help.

Fast forward to May of 2013 and here we are on the threshold of a huge new opportunity to save countless more lives of stray, lost, abandoned, abused and neglected pets.

As I strolled around the studded walls of our building this morning I could almost see the faces of those yet to be rescued, imagining them safe, happy, comfortable, loved on and awaiting their new forever homes.
I imagined smiling volunteers walking the dogs around our public dog park area on the southern portion of the property. I imagined our beautiful cats and kittens healthy, safe, content, being cuddled or happily sunning themselves on perches in the windows of our kitty-condo community room.

The Faithful Friends Adoption Center will be a happy place where lives are saved and second chances are given; a place where fears are dispelled, trust is built and healing happens. The lives of both humans and animals will be blessed with one of the greatest gifts we experience in this life; a one-of-a-kind bond of love and companionship.

I hope you, my readers, will want to be part of an adoption center where every rescued animal that enters our front door goes back out that front door to a loving, new forever home. It will never be a dead-end for them but, a true "shelter" and a "safe harbor". Many "animal shelters" are the most dangerous and life-threatening places a dog or cat can find themselves.

Our volunteers will sow seeds of love and reap a great deal of joy from giving time and tender care to our orphans and then celebrating with them on their adoption day. Volunteers have been and continue to be the backbone and strength of any place such as Faithful Friends Adoption Center.

When animals come to us they have always just lost the center of their universe, the people they loved. They've lost the only life they've ever known, even if it was not a very good one. They are extremely stressed, frightened, disoriented and usually starved and dehydrated. Right now every animal we rescue is taken from their veterinary exam directly to a foster home where they are given all the attention and reassurance possible to help them deal with the loss and trauma.

Once our adoption center doors are open, the animals will be brought to our center. The great news is, we will be able to say "yes" to many more rescues and will be able to meet most of their medical needs right there at the facility.

The not-so-good news is most will not be going into a foster home. They will be going into a kennel or kitty-condo. The absolute best shelter facilities in the nation can't prevent this from being a very distressing time for them.

Here is where the volunteers and staff at the adoption center make all the difference. Stress has the same deleterious physical effect on dogs as it does on humans. Dogs do literally die from stress and grief they experience unless people are there to help them recover.

If placed in a solitary environment with minimal human contact after belonging to an individual or a family that their entire lives depended upon and revolved around, many dogs (and cats) will withdraw, stop eating or drinking, shut down, and give up. The loving time and attention given these dogs and cats is as important or maybe more important than giving them food and water. The more they recover, the better their chances of adoption. We and the orphans we rescue will need you more than ever before! You will make all the difference!

Leanne Williams writes a weekly column for the Daily News.