Several dozen area residents attended an open house event held at Haven of the Ozarks Animal Sanctuary on Saturday. Attendees had the opportunity to tour the new Barbara Williams Training Center and watch a training demonstration conducted by Tristan Jolivette.
"I thought the open house turned out fantastic," said Mike Steffen, Haven of the Ozarks director. "We were very pleased, especially for an event held in February. It was a very nice day."
Jolivette demonstrated several obedience training tactics, offered training tips and answered a variety of questions during the two-hour open house event. Attendees had the opportunity to take part in the first class held at the training center following Jolivette's demonstration.
Michelle Jackson, of Cassville, took part in the first class with her terrier/schnauzer mix dog, Dude.
"My dog has no manners," Jackson said with a laugh. "I would like to get another dog, but Dude is going to need to be better mannered before I get him a friend."
Katy Conde, of Jenkins, also attended the demonstration and took part in the first class with her chihuahua and dachshund mix dog, Rudy. Conde said she decided to participate after learning how successful other dog owners had been after taking part in Jolivette's training sessions.
"We hope that by offering this type of training, pet owners will want to keep their dogs," said Steffen. "We believe that a lot of animals are thrown away, because the owners just didn't know how to train them."
The training sessions, which will be conducted in the new training center, will also provide the Haven with additional income. A portion of the class fees will be donated to the animal sanctuary.
The obedience classes, which will cost $89 for seven sessions, will teach positive reinforcement techniques for all aspects of dog training from potty training to advanced obedience. Classes will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. each Saturday.
"We hope those who attended the open house were able to learn that we are doing the best we can to help the unwanted animals in this area," said Steffen. "We only accept strays and abandoned animals, and we always have a waiting list."
New animals are accepted at the Haven when other animals are adopted by families and individuals.
Haven of the Ozarks operates on donations and the minimal adoption fees that are collected when an animal finds a home. The animal sanctuary also receives bulk donations from food suppliers and other businesses.
"We have lost two of our food suppliers this year," said Steffen. "We use between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds of dry dog food every month. We hope the open house helped us get that message out to the community as well."
In order to help supplement donations Haven of the Ozarks has opened a booth at Granny's Ole Home Place in Cassville. Funds generated from the purchase of items offered in the booth go directly to the animal sanctuary.
"We take any and all donations," said Steffen. "If we can't use it at the Haven, we will sell it and use the funds to pay for animal medical bills and other costs. Everything is accepted, and any donation amount helps."
In addition to offering a facility for training sessions, the new Barbara Williams Training Center will give staff members an indoor facility to work with, walk and play with animals housed at Haven of the Ozarks.
"This facility is going to be very beneficial during bad weather," said Steffen. "Our staff members and volunteers will be able to be inside out of the rain and the cold, and during the summer, when it is hot, they will be able to work with the animals in an air conditioned facility."
Haven of the Ozarks' new training center is named after the late Barbara Williams, former chief executive officer and Haven of the Ozarks Board of Director's president. Williams died on Oct. 23, 2010, following a year-long battle with leukemia.
The animal sanctuary and new training center are located west of Cassville on Farm Road 2190 in Washburn.
For more information on Haven of the Ozarks, call 835-3547. To enroll in training classes, call Cheri Cowherd at 417-695-2435 or Karen Foster at 417-858-0033.