'Friends of the Animals' gets new air conditioner, thanks to some new friends

TIPTON, Iowa (KCRG) - For Friends of the Animals in Cedar County, leadership is waiting until they can move out their headquarters in Tipton.

With potentially dangerous high temperatures arriving in eastern Iowa, staff at the animal shelter had concerns about the welfare of the animals in their care. Then, help was delivered to the shelter's front door after a number of people chipped in to help the animals feel a little cooler.

For Kara Ross, who serves as the President of the Friends of the Animals in Cedar County, she looks after the animals under their care. She knows stories about each animal, how they were named, and where they came from.

But Ross admits, they have a big problem at the shelter.

"We don't have air conditioning," Ross said, "And with it being in the 100-degree area this week, we're all very concerned how these guys are going to fare inside."

Staff uses different oscillating and standalone fans to cool off the animals around the building.

As it turned out, they made a new fan earlier this week. Liz Ford visited the facility to network for her business Best Friends Dog Academy in Iowa City.

"I went there for the first time with business cards, and I immediately saw a pretty good sized need," Ford said.

What started as a chance for Ford to promote her business to area shelters turned into a quick call to action to her friends on Facebook. Within hours, people commented asking how they can help and where they can send money.

"But then people started sharing it," Ford said. "And then I started hearing from people who weren't my friend yet."

The donations kept piling up. In around 18 hours, Ford showed up at the Cedar County shelter with a new, portable air conditioning unit.

"I can't even begin to describe how big my heart is swollen with love and for all the outpouring of support we've received," said Ross.

That support was a pleasant surprise to not just Ross, but Ford, too.

"They say 'Iowa Nice' and we kind of joke about it, but it's true," Ford said. "When there's a need out there, the community really responds. And I am so grateful for that. I'm just grateful to live in a place where people are like that."

"I'm overwhelmed. I can't- I'm just overwhelmed," Ross said.

Ross said since she became President with the nonprofit three years ago, it has been their ultimate goal to move out of their building, preferably into a place that has air conditioning or can at least support window units. She said any donations they get now not only the operation of the shelter but can lead towards their goal of moving into a better facility.

For information on how and where to donate, visit their website or visit their Facebook group.