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Pet sanctuary to honor late Candy Clark’s legacy in Fayetteville

by Stacy Ryburn | April 1, 2022 at 7:24 a.m.
State Rep. Denise Garner (from left) embraces Teddy Cardwell, wife of the late Candy Clark, Thursday, March 31, 2022 at the site of what will be the new Candy Clark Pet Sanctuary behind the Peace at Home Family Shelter in Fayetteville. The space for animals, named after the late Candy Clark who served on the Washington County Quorum Court and helped found the Animal League of Washington County, will allow survivors of domestic abuse live with their pets on the site. Check out nwaonline.com/220401Daily/ and nwadg.com/photos for a photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Candy Clark cared about animals and people, in that order.

On Thursday, Peace at Home Family Shelter broke ground on a pet sanctuary in Clark's name that will allow survivors of domestic abuse to live with their furry friends on site. The ceremony also marked the launch of a capital campaign to raise $1 million for the facility's construction and startup operational costs.

Clark was an avid animal-rights advocate who served on the Washington County Quorum Court. She played key roles in the foundation and operation of the county's Lester C. Howick Animal Shelter, the Humane Society of the Ozarks and the Animal League of Washington County.

Clark died in December 2020 at the age of 64.

Clark's wife, Teddy Cardwell, said she knew the pet sanctuary had to be built at Peace at Home upon her wife's passing. Clark's obituary asked for donations to the pet sanctuary bearing her name in lieu of flowers.

"This will be something that will save lives, both animals and people," Cardwell said.

Cardwell serves on the Peace at Home board, and Clark was a volunteer and donor for the organization. The shelter provides refuge for survivors of domestic abuse and children. Services include emergency shelter, housing assistance, legal aid, education and counseling.

Plans are underway to expand the shelter's capacity from about 50 residents at a time to 100. Building the pet sanctuary is part of the plan for the expansion.

The City Council in February agreed to sell 4 acres of land the city owns nearby to the shelter for $80,000 to use for the expansion.

Teresa Mills, chief executive officer of Peace at Home, said she became close friends with Clark and Cardwell. One day, Clark asked what the organization's next project was going to be.

Mills told Clark that some day she wanted to have a facility to accommodate the pets of clients.

"Well, we're doing that," was Clark's response, Mills said.

Mills had not discussed the idea with the board at that point, nor had she any money lined up, land available or plans down on paper.

It didn't matter. The pet sanctuary was going to happen as far as Clark was concerned, Mills said. Clark would ask Mills when the organization was going to build the facility every time the two encountered each other.

"Well, Candy Clark, we're doing it now," Mills said "We're doing it today. And I'm so sad that you're not here."

The capital campaign is off to a strong start. Julianna Munden, president for Peace at Home's board, said an anonymous donor will contribute a $300,000 matching grant to the project. Public fundraising events also are planned.

The shelter has extremely limited space to board pets for families, said Eva Terry, director of development for Peace at Home. Too often clients have to make the tough choice to seek shelter but leave their pets behind, she said.

"We know that domestic violence and animal abuse are linked," Terry said. "We've had clients who have had their pets murdered by their abusers and abused by their abusers."

Washington County Justice of the Peace Eva Madison said she met Clark two decades ago while serving for the board for the Humane Society of the Ozarks. The organization was on the brink of dissolution, and Clark helped Madison whip things into shape, Madison said.

Madison recalled a time when she found a runaway dog while driving. With nothing but the strap to a yoga mat in her car to rein in the animal, she called Clark, who helped find the dog's owner. Clark later gifted Madison an animal rescue kit for her car that she still uses.

Madison often reached out to Clark in times of need, she said, and now more people and animals will get help through Clark's legacy.

"Candy Clark was a rescuer," Madison said. "She was a rescuer of causes, she was a rescuer of animals and she was a rescuer of people. I can think of no better tribute to her than this animal sanctuary that combines all three rescue missions."

Web watch

For more information about Peace at Home Family Shelter, go to:

https://peaceathomeshelter.org

  photo  CEO Teresa Mills shows Jean Kebis, a former employee of the Peace at Home Family Shelter, a rendering of the new Candy Clark Pet Sanctuary, Thursday, March 31, 2022 at the site of what will be the new Candy Clark Pet Sanctuary behind the Peace at Home Family Shelter in Fayetteville. The space for animals, named after the late Candy Clark who served on the Washington County Quorum Court and helped found the Animal League of Washington County, will allow survivors of domestic abuse live with their pets on the site. Check out nwaonline.com/220401Daily/ and nwadg.com/photos for a photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  Development Coordinator Stacy Brehman (from left) and Development Director Eva Terry display a quote from the late Candy Clark, Thursday, March 31, 2022 at the site of what will be the new Candy Clark Pet Sanctuary behind the Peace at Home Family Shelter in Fayetteville. The space for animals, named after the late Candy Clark who served on the Washington County Quorum Court and helped found the Animal League of Washington County, will allow survivors of domestic abuse live with their pets on the site. Check out nwaonline.com/220401Daily/ and nwadg.com/photos for a photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Charlie Kaijo)
 
 
  photo  A conceptual drawing by Witsell Evans Rasco Architects/Planners shows what the pet sanctuary at Peace at Home Family Shelter in Fayetteville will look like. The shelter for domestic abuse survivors held a groundbreaking Thursday, March 31, 2021, for the facility and also launched a financial campaign. (Courtesy/Peace at Home Family Shelter)
 
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