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Happy Jack hopes to make a difference

A Bonne Terre woman is trying to make a difference in the county for those who have pets and are in need of assistance.

Sharon Keathley has a love of all animals and wanted to find a way to help them. After much thought she started Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry in 2015, a 501c3 not for profit.

“I have done it very slowly and have tried to manage what I am doing,” Keathley explained. “I try to help people every month with pet food. Some get food every month and others just do it when they are dire need of help. Right now I have 20 to 25 people I help regularly every month.”

Keathley said she does help with animal rescues to try and help find dogs a home. She added a lot of these rescues are homeless, they have been dumped or older people have told someone to take them to the pound. Sometimes someone could have died and the family doesn’t want them.

“I thought I could help do something and this is it,” Keathley said. “There are specific qualifications required to utilize the pet food pantry. You have to be a senior citizen or be on government assistance, such as Medicaid or Medicare or have Social Security income. I will also help retired veterans in need, and fire and flood victims. I also offer special emergency service depending on the situation.”

Keathley feels strongly about and promotes spay and neutering of pets. By fixing pets, it helps to prevent overcrowding at shelters and pounds.

“When I deliver the pet food if they aren’t there we leave it on the porch for them,” said Keathley. “I hope to someday have a small shop where I can house the food, bag and distribute it and also sell items to help fund the pantry.”

Keathley said right now she is working out of her home with the pet food, all in hopes of allowing more animals to stay in their homes and out of the overcrowded pounds.

“For a while Tractor Supply in Farmington was donating food and then they stopped,” Keathley said. “I’ve had help from individuals and Family Center in Bonne Terre. Since I’m a not for profit, I have a tax exempt card and Walmart will hold the taxes when I buy food.”

She explained there are many things she could use and any donations such as dog and cat food, pet treats, litter boxes, littler, flea/tick medicine, bedding, collars, food dishes, leashes and more would be greatly appreciated.

“If someone has something they don’t use and it’s in decent condition and can be reused I will take it,” said Keathley. “Also cash donations always help to purchase additional food that is needed.”

She said she is not so busy right now where she needs volunteers at this point, but she will need to have a fundraiser in the near future and will need help.

“My main focus right now is St. Francois County even though I have helped people as far as Fredericktown, towards Potosi and Mineral Point,” Keathley said. “I am just mainly concentrating on St. Francois County right now and hope to expand at some point.”

Keathley said she has a booth at the Route 67 Flea Market at the Fancy Crow in Bonne Terre were she sells refinished furniture and other items to help fund Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry.

“I have tried putting my flyer out everywhere to help with donations and see if there is anyone in need,” said Keathley. “I am down to one big bag of dog food and I will have to beg and scrounge for more. I have a lady who has a dog with no teeth who will only eat Mighty Dog.”

Keathley added she had a girl scout who made pet pillows and cardboard cat scratchers that she donated to Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry.

“If I could get some boy scouts and girl scouts involved that would be great,” said Keathley. “Right now I am just trying to have enough food to supply those in need. I will bag the food and sort it for each person who called for the month’s delivery. Even if I have to buy it myself, they will have food.”

Keathley said she hopes to eventually have a localized place or shop where everyone can come once a month to pick up their food, but right now she is just trying to line out donations for the pantry.

“Any help given would be greatly appreciated,” Keathley said. “There are a lot of people who need help and I want to be able to help them. It’s just hard getting started and getting consistent donations. There are so many out there who need help, but haven’t heard of us.”

Keathley said she hopes in the future Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry will be able to help fund spay and neutering.

“I’ve had people say if someone can’t take care of their pet, they shouldn’t have it,” said Keathley. “Well, they need companionship and sometimes things happen that are out of our control.”

Those who are in need of pet food assistance or would like to make a donation can contact Keathley at 573-330-1423.

Sharon Keathley, of Bonne Terre, wanted to help pets stay in their homes and started Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry two years ago. She has been trying to get the word out that she is there to help.

Sharon Keathley, of Bonne Terre, wanted to help pets stay in their homes and started Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry two years ago. She has been trying to get the word out that she is there to help.

Various pet foods, treats, and necessary items are donated to Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry to help those in need.

Various pet foods, treats, and necessary items are donated to Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry to help those in need.

An area girl scout donated a cat scratcher that was made from cardboard boxes to Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry, along with pet pillows.

An area girl scout donated a cat scratcher that was made from cardboard boxes to Happy Jack Pet Food Pantry, along with pet pillows.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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