‘Tales with Tails’ wins national award

Dog Warden Chastity Crowder reading to a former Mixon resident. Mixon listens to the Elizabeth and Larry story. He was later adopted after being such a good boy at story time.

Courtesy picture

WASHINGTON — Shelby County has received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards recognize innovative and effective county government programs that strengthen services to residents.

NACo recognized the Bob Sargeant & Family Shelby County Animal Shelter for its innovative “Tails with Tales” program. Tales with Tails was created to provide information about the Shelby County Animal Shelter to potential pet adoptive families and to address the social isolation of children in the community during COVID.

The shelter staff were determined to maintain their record of high adoption rates and knew that a creative new approach to the community was needed. The program was developed fairly quickly once the need and solution was determined, with the Facebook Live program being developed over several weeks.

Tales with Tails combines reading a book about animals to the public and introducing one of the shelter’s adoptable pets or the shelter’s mascot, a cat named Batman. The program launched in February 2021 and has been a weekly event since then with stories told every Thursday evening. Tales with Tails is for Shelby County Animal Shelter’s 8,500+ Facebook followers.

In addition to shelter staff reading this story hour, local volunteers, librarians and veterinarians, a total of eleven different guests, took turns reading a book for Tales with Tails. The program costs the county nothing except the time spent by shelter staff and volunteers. Many books read during the program were borrowed from county libraries.

“Tales with Tails deserves an NACo Achievement Award for several reasons. Shelby County Animal Shelter employees have taken a difficult situation with COVID and turned it into a positive weekly program for the community,” said Commissioner Julie Ehemann. “Not only have the staff maintained the shelter’s pet adoption rates, but they have created a whole new audience of children who will be more likely to appreciate and be kind to animals. The program should be recognized for its simplicity and its ability to be emulated by counties elsewhere that do not have access to much funding or other resources.

NACo Chairman Larry Johnson said, “Across the country, counties are working tirelessly to support residents and support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s award-winning programs show how counties work every day to build healthy, safe and thriving communities. »

Nationally, awards are presented in 18 different categories that reflect the broad and comprehensive services provided by counties. Categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each applicant is judged on their own merits and not against other applications received.

Dog Warden Chastity Crowder reading to a former Mixon resident. Mixon listens to the Elizabeth and Larry story. He was later adopted after being such a good boy at story time.

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