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Founder of dog rescue 'Arkanpaws' diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, community steps in to help

For nearly 10 years, Danielle Maddox has worked to save dogs and find them homes. After she received a cancer diagnosis, those in Faulkner County have come to help.

FAULKNER COUNTY, Ark. — A Plumerville woman set out on a mission nearly 10 years ago to save dogs, but now she needs help to keep up the work she started.

"I discovered there was such a need because we had so many animals dumped in this area,” Danielle Maddox, founder of ArkanPaws, said. 

Arkanpaws is a non-profit organization in Faulkner County that handles animal rescue in the area.

Maddox left college to take on the responsibility of saving dogs. She works to provide them with a safe place and strives to bring them back to good health.

All the while, she knew that there wasn't an animal shelter in Faulkner and Conway counties.

"Once they are fully vetted, we work really hard to place these dogs in their forever homes,” Maddox said.

Just recently, Danielle was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She now needs treatment and wondered how she would continue her efforts. That's until community volunteers stepped in.

"She's always there for everybody in her life even if she doesn't know them,” Whitney Dean, an ArkanPaws volunteer, said.

Whitney Dean and Pat Williams are two volunteers who've come to Danielle's aid. They've chosen to take on the hard labor it takes to keep up the kennels as Danielle goes through chemotherapy treatment.

But they said they could use more help.

"The more people I can find right now while she still feels okay and she can get comfortable with people being here, the better it will be in the long run for her,” Dean said.

"It's not easy work. It's hot. It's summertime right now, but usually once people get out here, they fall in love with the animals,” Maddox said.

Before she begins chemotherapy, Maddox is most hopeful that she can find foster families for five heart-worm positive dogs.

"They don't need to be in this summer heat while they are going through treatment. It's kind of like chemo, ironically. It’s hard on their bodies,” she said.

Currently, 25 dogs are in ArkanPaws' care.

Besides the hard work, volunteers are working to find them their forever homes.

"I never dreamed that we had so many caring people in our community,” Maddox said.

Just Tuesday, the Faulkner County Quorum Court approved purchasing the building next to Companions Spay and Neuter Clinic for an animal shelter.

The next step for the county is to figure out how to fund it.

If you would like to volunteer at the kennels, foster, or adopt a pet, you can learn more at ArkanPaws' website