We are always thrilled and never surprised when residents across the Chagrin Valley show their compassionate community spirit.

That was evident when the Geauga County Humane Society sounded an alert last month that the cupboard at its Rescue Village animal shelter in Russell Township was just about empty. The request started when the shelter posted a message on Facebook seeking donations of dog food.

The humane society’s animal rescue efforts have been part of the valley community for three decades, taking in animals in need of safety, comfort and a new home. It provides for more than just dogs and cats. Rescue Village has a five-stall barn and a protected pasture providing a temporary haven for sheep, cows, ducks, pigs, goats, chickens, horses and other farm animals that need an escape from cruelty or neglect. Among them are Kevin the chicken, Irish Slick the 15-year-old thoroughbred and Donny the 4-year-old pig, all looking for homes.

Rescue Village responded to the growing demand over the years by expanding the shelter to its current 19,000 square feet in Russell. Community volunteers are at the heart of the organization, helping with a variety of needs such as walking dogs, reading to animals and fostering animals. Volunteer involvement has been limited in the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But that has not dampened the spirit of this caring community.

The nonprofit offers programs that talk about kindness and compassion. Other programs pair veterans with animals and help senior citizens find animal companions.

So, when the call went out for food, area supporters went through the chewy.com website and donated bags of dog food, ultimately weighing in at a total of 4,000 pounds. This happened in just a couple of days.

Rescue Shelter officials were stunned at the quick response.

Rescue Village Executive Director Kenneth Clarke said it took four people to unload the truck. “The generosity was over the top and very encouraging,” Mr. Clarke said of the donations.

All we can think about is those lucky 47 dogs now living at the shelter. They will certainly have enough sustenance as they wait for their forever homes. Most of the current canine Rescue Village residents came courtesy of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Because of the good work it does, Rescue Village is a destination shelter in Northeast Ohio. Dogs come from many areas, ranging from northern cities like Cleveland to cities in the deep south.

We look back to 2017 when Rescue Village took in 67 cats from the areas of Florida that were flooded after a hurricane. Rescue Village ended up keeping 21 of those cats and one dog, with the rest going to Cleveland, Parma and other Northeast Ohio shelters. Many of those cats found their forever homes.

Rescue Village’s mission centers on caring for animals and finding them homes. Residents in valley communities supported that mission by responding to the call for food in an unbelievable and unprecedented fashion.

Residents indeed showed that a compassionate spirit is alive in our community.

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