It's been a long time coming. Almost 10 years in fact.

Thankfully all that planning, fundraising and continuing to care about a very worthwhile project has finally paid off. Construction is set to begin on the Happy Tails No-Kill Animal Shelter.

What started as an idea, that led to purchase of a site along Route 6 in North Towanda with a little sign that said it was the future home of the Happy Tails shelter, has become a reality.

The board of directors, led by President Karen Friedenberg, never stopped believing in their cause. Over the years the group has organized many events to help raise money for the shelter, including rummage sales, all-day bowling, annual golf tournaments, rabies clinics and silent auctions, to name just a few. Along with some donations and grants, the fundraisers have added to the $150,000 needed to complete the first phase of the project - namely the exterior of the planned 6,000-square-foot building and the flooring.

When it's done, there will be a clean, comfortable place to house cats and dogs, complete with a screened-in outdoor porch and an indoor play area.

There's more to be done - work on the interior of the building will only continue with more fundraising. But this group has already shown where there's a will, there's a way. We commend the animal lovers that make up Happy Tails for their vision and endurance on this project. When completed, the facility will be a nice addition to what Happy Tails currently offers the county, including educational programs and low-cost rabies clinics.

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Care to help out?

To donate or to learn more, call Friedenberg at (607) 742-8061 or write to P.O. Box 68, Towanda, PA 18848 or visit www.happytailsnkas.petfinder.com.