The shelter, founded by Helen Opperman Krause, sits on approximately two acres of landscaped grounds in a rural environment and consists of a state-of-the-art main cat shelter built in 1999, a cat shelter annex and a dog kennel. At any given time, this complex is home to as many as 100 cats and kittens and 10 dogs.
In addition to providing refuge to homeless animals, we:
-Adopt companion animals, both dogs and cats, into permanent homes in the community.
-Share the joy of animal companionship with nursing and retirement home residents with pet therapy visits.
-Provide information on low cost spay/neuter services.
Thrust onto a Turning Point
In 1982 this dedication swept Helen into a well-publicized maelstrom. Triggered by a neighbor offended by her shelter's entropy, Camp Hill Borough Council refused to renew a required license. The 77-year-old widow had three months to move or see her animals confiscated and destroyed. Deb Smith, one of many dedicated friends and neighbors who rallied protectively, remembers that, despite the enormity of the threat, Helen "couldn't imagine someone being horrible enough to destroy the animals". She only saw the good in people. It was a dark time. The community she served all those years had turned on her. After great uncertainty and complications, and a year of extended deadlines, Helen and her animals finally found a new home in Dillsburg. The transition was difficult. She particularly hated leaving trees planted by her father. But now she was backed by a foundation formed by those who had weathered the crisis with her.
Some Things, and Some People, Never Change
The foundation began generating concrete financial support. Although it also introduced a degree of order, Helen continued to obey the yes. "She would still take in everything," says long time friend Carol Umbenhauer. "She'd promise not to and then ... one night she took in nine cats. She drove around in her station wagon, picking up all kinds of things. She couldn't say no." Sadly, in the early 90s Helen began to suffer from Alzheimer's Disease, which gradually ate away at her independence and eventually prevented her from living alone. She moved in with Carol and Charles Umbenhaur, but soon her tenuous condition deteriorated and she entered the Cumberland County Nursing Home. As a result of her illness, Helen could no longer connect to generally defined reality but, not surprisingly, was that rare "happy Alzheimer's patient" and could still connect with animals.
An Enduring Legacy
In her book, Helen recalls the poet Horace's admonishment:
"Abridge your hopes in proportion to the shortness of the span of human life...'I plan this year to make the best of whatever comes along, and find happiness." she reflects. "Each day is a precious gift ... I will be content and happy in my own little world, the hills ... the woodlands close at hand, the trees overhead, the birds, a whole glorious universe all about me." Helen has profoundly enriched that universe by sharing herself and her lessons from life with us. And through her example, and the foundation she inspired, she has left an enduring legacy to the generations to come. Helen…valued the things that are on the earth, even down to the smallest songbird…They all had a place were equally important…
HOKAFI will provide you with a leash, collar, cat/dog food and a loan of a crate at the time of adoption. We will also provide as much information and support as needed to ensure that the adoption goes smoothly.
These dogs are very grateful to be given a second chance. Even though we are a no-kill shelter, a kennel run is not a home. The dogs desire loving caring homes. Their lives have not been easy in the past. Please take a closer look at our beloved dogs.
If you would be interested in adopting from HOKAFI, please call us at (717)697-3377 and a volunteer will call you to schedule an appointment.