ELTON, La. (AP) — Allison Cart has rescued more than 50 animals in her lifetime. From household dogs and cats to wild raccoons and possums, there’s no animal that can’t pull on her heartstrings.
“It really started when I started driving. Before that, I would ask to bring home strays but my parents would not go for it. But once I could drive, it was a different story,” she said.
Her love for animals really started with her parents, she said, despite their initial protests at her young rescue efforts.
“They’re just as soft as I am. When I bring it home, they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s so sweet!’ They would reprimand me but then they would fall for the animals.”
She’s currently raising seven animals — dogs, cats and a tortoise — the majority of which she’s rescued from various circumstances. Cart doesn’t always set out to adopt the animals, rather she works to find them good homes once she’s got them rehabilitated if necessary.
Taking in animals requires a time and financial commitment, she said, but it’s well worth it.
“Seeing the condition I got them in, which is usually poor and then seeing them happy and healthy is the best part. And the flip side is seeing them go to a family that I know will love them.”
Cart has developed a reputation as a safe haven for stray animals and even recently had a UPS driver reach out to her for assistance with a stray dog on his route. “I’m kind of maxed out currently on animals to tend to, but a lot of people know me and my name’s out there for this,” she said.
Caring for strays is more than just providing shelter but often requires setting multiple alarms throughout the night to feed, wound care, grooming and the financial burden of a veterinarian’s bill if required. “But it’s worth it. I mean I just can’t walk away from them.”
Whether it’s a store parking lot or even a late-night roadside, Cart is ready to help an animal in need. While driving one night she found a chihuahua on the side of Highway 165 that was clearly a pet.
She knocked on doors to help find its owners but to no avail. She brought the dog home to Elton for the night with the intent of calling the church near where she found the dog the next morning.
As fate would have it, the owners, all the way from Rutherford Beach, visited the same neighborhood that night looking for their dog and learned of her plan to call the church. “When I called the church, she said, ‘Is your name Allison? Missy’s owners have been calling here non-stop for their dog!’”
Missy and her owners were reunited in Elton the next day, much to Cart’s delight. “They were extremely thankful and even gave me $100. It was a really neat situation, especially because I normally get strays, to see their reunion. So worth it.”