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We are stronger together than we are alone!

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NOTE from BOSTON TERRIER NETWORK: This is the third part of our four part interview  with Debbie Rappuhn, the founder and president of HEART OF ALABAMA SAVE RESCUE ADOPT (HASRA) And a former Shoals Woman of the Year. They are located at 4101 Highway 72 in Killen, Al 34545. You may contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I decided to ask if I could come visit her new sanctuary. I was amazed. HASRA started their sanctuary less than a year ago on bare ground.  Interview dated July 2014.


The HASRA sanctuary has been a dream of Debbie and her group of friends for several years and she had a lot more to share so we pick up where we left off with our interview :


IMG 8671Q: Tell us about some of the things that continue to drive you and your volunteers forward amidst the challenges.

Debbie: “When we started pulling animals from kill shelters, having been on both ends, we understood more than I wanted to. To go and pull the Babies that have no chance is an amazing feeling. Me and my cohort, Robin, are smiling all the way back from pulling trips. We just grin and share how happy we are.”


 Q: Are you still working through the struggles and overcoming them?

 Debbie: “Oh the struggles were numerous, most important being no money. That can stop anything. We would get a little work on the place, a little. When we get a little more money, we would work on another area. That is still going on. When we accomplished something, ready to move on to something else, then something would go wrong with what we thought we were finished with.


We would be going backward. For example, the drainage system was a knot in our tails. We are still working on that. In addition, everything you finish, you see what you should have done differently. Struggles happen daily, but you always have to focus on the reason you are there, The Babies! That is what keeps us going.”


Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring persons who might want to follow your example?IMG 8673

Debbie: “Research, research, research! And most of all, talk to people who have done what you want to do. Learn what you need to think about before you ever even start going ahead with it. I did not do either of these things, and I should have. I have been lucky to have people around me to steer me in the right direction.“


 Q: Imagine yourself accepting your lifetime Achievement Award. What would it be for?

Debbie: “There is a plaque in my home that says, “Be the Change You Wish To See In The World”, Gandhi said that.  I just wish to make a difference in the world before I pass. It would be horrible to die and no one could think of one difference that you made in your community. I guess it would be nice from this point to be known as the group that saved 2800 animals since 2010. Not only saved them, but also provided them with the best lives they could ever have. I hope that by the time I leave this world, it will be 10,000 or more! I am called “THE DOG LADY” around here and I am just fine with that name!”

Debbie: “You ask why I do what I do. I do rescue because of a Tattoo I have on my wrist, “I AM THEIR VOICE”. They cannot tell anyone how they are treated, nor how sad they are, or the hurt and hunger they feel. I want to make sure they do not have to live with those things any longer. Our sanctuary is the “WE ARE THEIR VOICE SANCTUARY!!”


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Q: How can people help you?

Debbie: “I would love people to see what we do. We need their help in many ways. I invite any interested persons to come to the sanctuary and volunteer, be a part of loving these dogs, show them attention, help us with fundraising. We cannot do what we need to do without help.  We are a nonprofit and do not have a lot of money coming in. I am not a businessperson, that is not my expertise. We need people that are experienced in that area. We need people who want to start programs in schools and groups about the importance of Spay/Neuter and being responsible pet owners."

Debbie talked as we toured their kennels. She told me they were looking for someone to help them work on grants,Spay/Neuter GRANTS ESPECIALLY”. She told me, “It would be a dream to have enough money to set up a fund to help people that could not afford to get free Spay/Neuter Services."


 Q: How do they contact you?

"THEY CAN CONTACT ME VIA This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 256-335-1730.  My phone number and email are spread all over the UNITED STATES.  Lol”.

Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1