Marion Police Department Presents Furgiven Animal Sanctuary With Certificate of Appreciation

Jeffrey A. Smith, Chief of Police Hinckle and Lee Ridings

On June 14th, 2022, one of the hottest days that summer, Marion Animal Shelter experienced an HVAC emergency. The Marion Police Department announced a need for community assistance, whereupon Jeffrey Alan Smith and Lee, co-founders of Furgiven Animal Sanctuary, responded immediately. The animals were safely transported to Furgiven, where they could enjoy the cooled environment, get fed and sleep comfortably. Meanwhile, Furgiven went above and beyond by lending Marion Animal Shelter misting and cooling fans until they could get their own HVAC system repaired. 

Lee Ridings accepting Certificate of Appreciation from Chief of Police Brannon Hinkle

The City of Marion Chief of Police recognized the swift actions of Furgiven Animal Sanctuary, presenting Jeffrey and Lee with an official Certificate of Appreciation.

Certification of Appreciation

Furgiven Valentine’s fundraiser helps four-legged friends

A new private animal sanctuary opened in West Memphis last summer and held a springtime fundraiser and open house on Saturday. The Valentine’s weekend event allowed area residents to shower the sanctuary with some love and support through a merchandise and bake sale at the sanctuary on South Wood Street.

“Donations keep us going,” said Furgiven Animal Sanctuary Co-founder Jeffrey A. Smith.

Furgiven Animal Sanctuary (FAS) founders purchased the old animal hospital at 310 South Woods St., in West Memphis after the veterinarians there retired. FAS launched a mission at their nokill sanctuary to rehabilitate and train long-term sheltered dogs for adoption.

The shelter provided a second chance for dogs overlooked for adoption at other shelters. Their goal was to prevent euthanasia in a no dog left behind commitment to place the pets in forever homes.

“We don’t do owner surrenders here,” said Director Lee Ridings. “We get calls for that every day. The city has those set up. Our whole things are pulling dogs with special needs from shelters and training them for re-homing.”

That commitment reected in the FAS mission statement: “We believe that providing a more intimate, individual atmosphere for dogs in these special circumstances increases their chances of finding forever homes while promoting the animal-human bond within our community of the greater Mid-South, Tri-State area.”

The non-profit group put a lot of work in providing a roof, ceiling fans and heat in the dog kennel area along with fresh blue-violet paint to calm dogs in the round house style mid-century modern building. FAS planned offering future events for discounted veterinary services, low cost spay/ neutering clinics, as well as training and support for future pet owners and advocates.”

The latest adoption of a pit bulldog rescued during a Memphis house are provided a full circle turnaround testimony.

“The universe did its thing, and his new dad is a Memphis firefighter,” said Smith. “Pig was rescued during a house fire in Memphis.”

The adoption was finalized after Pig had been retrained, received visits at the office by the prospective adoption family, followed by a visit to the new home to meet the family and their dogs.

“We wanted to share his success story and just let you know how amazing it has been to care for him the last few weeks. He helped our pack of dogs especially the timid ones, he helped us see we can make a big difference for a dog that was in a shelter for too long.”

Dogs at the FAS shelter enjoyed a huge, fenced yard on nice days and have been treated to group trail hike field trips as part of their personal development.

“There is a lot to our name Furgiven, it obviously a play on words,” said Smith. “What is to forgive? We are really asking for humanity. The only reason animals are in these situations is lack of humanity.”

To support the work or volunteer at the shelter follow Furgiven Animal Shelter on Facebook or email

Furgiven Animal Sanctuary volunteers and staff posed Saturday during the Valentines fundraiser on Saturday. The bake sale and Furgiven merchandise sale bolstered the coffers to carry on dog rescue and rehabilitation at the private dog rescue in West Memphis. Pictured left to right were, Sherry Sanders volunteer from the West Memphis Animal Shelter, co-founder Jeffrey A. Smith, manager Coby Stephens, Director Lee Ridings and Carla Richardson volunteer from West Memphis Animal Control.

Memphis Firefighters Resuscitate Dog Rescued From Building Blaze

"Pig" unconscious after being rescued from building on fire

Members of the Memphis Fire Department saved a dog’s life Friday while responding to a house fire. Images of the rescue operation were captured by professional photographer Raymond Chiozza, who also took video of the firefighters as they give the dog oxygen, rubbing and patting it for 30 minutes before it regained consciousness. In the videos, the dog gradually returns from completely limp to animated.  The dog was hurt in a house fire Friday on Coleman Avenue, Chiozza posted.

Fireman giving unconscious dog oxygen

Lt. Wayne Cooke, public information officer for the Memphis Fire Department, said all of the people were out of the house prior to their arrival on scene, but that the dog was found completely unresponsive inside the home. Thankfully, they were able to resuscitate the dog. He was subsequently transported to a local animal shelter.

Fireman carrying unconscious dog from burning building
Fireman calling for help to resuscitate unconscious dog

Follow Up Story: Rescued Dog Cared For at Furgiven Animal Sanctuary and Adopted by a Fireman

The dog, Pig, as his owners had previously named him, had been sent to a nearby shelter, where he waited unsuccessfully for more than 400 days to be adopted. No one seemed to want him. That is, until Furgiven Animal Sanctuary stepped in and took him in. Due to the active adoption campaigns that FAS routinely holds for adoptable dogs, Pig was adopted just 28 days later. Ironically, his new adopted dad is a fireman! 

Pig with new adopted parents, Kimmy and Fireman Mike

Furgiven Animal Sanctuary posted the happy news on social media:

Huge news: Pig went home today! Yes, he has been visited multiple times by Mike and Kimmy and had an awesome home visit this week. Today, they did their last visit here at Furgiven and Pig left with them. He is going home to two brothers, Frank and Rigatoni, the perfect pair for Pig to make a trio.

If you all remember, Pig was rescued from a fire by the Memphis Fire Department over a year ago. The universe did its universe thing and his new dad is a Memphis firefighter who fell in love with Pig immediately! Not to understate his new mom, she is one of the kindest souls we’ve met and makes Pig feel safe.

We wanted to share his success story and just let you all know how amazing it has been to care for him the past few weeks. He has helped us more than we’ve helped him, I truly believe that. He helped our pack of dogs, especially the timid ones. He helped us see we can make a big difference for a dog that was in a shelter for too long. And he brought infinite smiles and laughter. So thank you Pig, and have a good life buddy. You deserve it!

Furgiven Animal Sanctuary Participates in Memphis Holiday Parade

Furgiven Animal Sanctuary handcrafted Holiday Float

The annual Memphis Holiday Parade took place in Downtown Memphis in December of 2023. Furgiven Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit dedicated to giving needy dogs a “second, second” chance, participated with a beautiful float for the parade. 

Jeffrey A. Smith (holding Reggie), Mayor and Lee (holding Nugget)

Demonstrating the value of Furgiven Animal Sanctuary in the community, the Mayor of Memphis took time to pose for a photo with the co-founders, Jeffrey A. Smith and Lee. 

Festive Holiday Float by Furgiven Animal Sanctuary

The float was handcrafted by the Furgiven team, and took several weeks to construct. It was adorned with red and white tinsel, giant candy canes and festive red lights, surrounding a large, custom holiday-themed Furgiven Animal Sanctuary sign.