Geneseo Shelter takes Oklahoma rescues

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
Tracy Diehl, left, manager of the Henry County Humane Society - Geneseo Shelter; and Kathleen Dichiser, volunteer and board member of the Humane Society, are shown with “Heidi,” one of the dogs from an animal shelter in Oklahoma that will be ready for adoption in the near future at the Geneseo Shelter.

The Henry County Humane Society – Geneseo Shelter has become “home” to several dogs from Oklahoma.

In May of last year there were just a few dogs at the local shelter and Tracy Diehl, shelter manager, reached out to find out if there was an over capacity of dogs at another shelter that might be looking for assistance.

Jamie DeSplinter, a Humane Society board member, said Diehl first contacted King’s Harvest Animal Shelter in Davenport, and it was from them that she was connected with Dave and Connie Guthrie of Independence, Mo.

The Guthrie couple operates the transport group “Save our Strays, Inc., and their transport van is “The Dog Gone Express.”

“They are really road warriors for the dogs and they do all of this for the love of animals, but also in memory of their daughter, Stephanie, who passed in 2002, at the age of 23,” Diehl said. “She really wanted them to do this for the animals.”

Diehl said the couple works with the Ardmore Animal Care, a shelter in Ardmore, OK, and when she contacted the Oklahoma shelter, she was told there were two puppies and when the “The Dog Gone Express” arrived at the Geneseo Shelter, there were four puppies.

“We ended up taking all four,” Diehl said, and explained that they have received a total of 35 dogs since May of last year.

The Oklahoma shelter sends photos to Connie Guthrie of the dogs that are on ‘dog death row,’ and scheduled to be euthanized and need to get out right away and Guthrie sends them to Diehl, who then chooses the dogs for the Geneseo shelter from the photos, which is “absolutely heartbreaking,” Diehl said.

Board member DeSplinter said there are many puppies “on the list as those are the ones that take the time, care and money, so those are the ones the Oklahoma Shelter tries to find other shelters or fosters to take them.”

“We had one litter that arrived with ‘mama’ and 12 one-week-old puppies,” DeSplinter said, adding that they are currently in foster care and they will have to be there for awhile as the puppies are too young to be adopted.

When the animals are in foster care, the Geneseo shelter provides everything the animals need - blankets, towels, toys, food and pays for all veterinarian bills.

“But it is the fosters who are putting in the blood, sweat, tears and love,” DeSplinter said.

There also are an additional six puppies in foster care and currently there are six dogs at the Geneseo shelter.

Diehl said there is a need for more fosters as well as for financial help as there is an added expense with the additional dogs, whether they are at the shelter or in foster care.

All donations are appreciated, she said. Checks should be made out to Henry County Humane Society – Geneseo Shelter and mailed to Henry County Humane Society – Geneseo Shelter, 14606 Roos Hill Rd., Geneseo, IL 61254.

More information is available on face book – Henry County Humane Society-Geneseo and at or by calling the Geneseo shelter at 309-944-4868.

Diehl said, “It is heartwarming to know that we are still helping people in Henry County or anyone else who needs us, but it’s also nice to know that we are saving a lot of dogs’ lives by reaching out to the animal shelter in Oklahoma, where there is always a need.”