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One of the cats that can be adopted from True Rescue. The animal welfare group is moving its operation from Lebanon to Mt. Juliet. True Rescue has approximately 150 animals — mostly cats and kittens – eligible for adoption or fostering.

Another Wilson County animal rescue group will set up shop in the former Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary facility in Mt. Juliet to continue its own animal welfare mission.

True Rescue, a non-profit group, works out of Lebanon under the guidance of Executive Director Amy Simcik. The group recently bought the Old Friends building on Lebanon Road from Michael and Zina Goodin, who moved their operation to a new multi-million-dollar facility nearby on Nonaville Road.

The target opening date at True Rescue’s new Mt. Juliet location is Aug. 15.

“Zina and I are very pleased that True Rescue is carrying on our legacy of saving animals of all kinds,” Michael Goodin said. “They are a wonderful organization and we hope to help each other in the future.”

Simcik said her group is “ecstatic” about the move that will triple its space, providing it the opportunity to take in more animals.

“Our rescue efforts are fairly young,” said Simcik, a Lebanon resident and the mother of two grown sons. “We opened in May 2020 in the middle of the pandemic on Carver Lane in Lebanon. The place had flooded. We wanted to purchase it and the owners were unwilling to sell it to us. Then we heard the Goodins were moving out of their location and we knew it was perfect for us.

“This has always been a dream of mine. I just knew I could take the experience I’ve gained with other animal rescue organizations and make a difference in Wilson County.”

For the past decade before she opened True Rescue, Simcik worked and volunteered for a number of animal rescue groups. The two most notable were the Humane Society of the United States and the American Humane Association.

“I knew something more needed to happen for dogs, cats and other animals in need in our county,” said Simcik, the owner of eight cats and five dogs on her 15-acre property in Lebanon. “Here, and surrounding areas, there are limited animal controls to house them.”

Currently, True Rescue houses 150 cats and kittens. It had to slow down on accepting dogs and puppies because of a space problem – there are currently six puppies and two adult dogs at the facility. One of True Rescue’s specialties is saving neonatal kittens. Simcik said that when the weather gets warm it’s known as “kitten season.”

“Their (kittens’) moms get sick or killed. So many are homeless and their babies have respiratory problems and end up with pneumonia,” said Simcik.”

True Rescue also gets calls about kittens tossed into trash cans, dumpsters and creeks.

Since it opened in May of 2020, True Rescue has adopted out 800 animals and has 12-20 foster families it can rely on.

The new facility will have the space to open a spay and neuter clinic. That service is rolled into the current adoption fees that range from $75 to $125.

There’s been a deep cleaning, painting and a lot of tear down inside the new building because True Rescue will be a cageless environment. Another addition will be a retail space to sell pet-related gifts such as their branded items, T-shirts and more.

In addition to Simcik, the other members of the staff are: Kristin Condit (director of operations); Sandy Moyer (foster and adoption coordinator); and Kelley Winzek (shelter manager). Simcik is likely to add three other positions in the near future and a group of volunteers. She also will hire a fulltime veterinarian for on-site care.

Condit is working on fundraisers and securing grants to get the group running even further.

“Having been involved in the initial development, planning and launching of True Rescue, I can’t put into words how excited I am for our move.” she said. “We’ve seen time and time again, the more we lean into saying ‘yes’ and helping as many animals as we can, we’re rewarded with opportunities that we never imagined.”

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