Having Hope for the Hopeless

The Early Days of HOPE

Chiasson spends many hours each day at the HOPE Kennel facility which is located on the outskirts of Thibodaux.

Many people love say they love and care about the wellbeing of animals, but Ruth Chiasson took that sentiment to a whole new level in 1995 when she founded HOPE for Animals, a non-profit animal rescue and pet adoption organization. At the time of HOPE’s inception, Chiasson said there were so many unwanted, homeless animals that she just had to do something.


According to Chiasson, “it was and it still is an epidemic of unwanted animals” that caused her to take action for animals that could not fight on their own.

In the beginning, Chiasson and _dsc0096her team would pay out of their own pocket until the animals would find new homes. Now, because of the hand work and dedication of Chiasson and her animal-loving team, volunteers no longer need to pay for food, veterinarian visits, and other costs associated animals because HOPE takes that burden off of its wonderful volunteers.

Before HOPE, there was no other organization like it in the Thibodaux area. After Chiasson saw the need for the organization, she spread the word about her new group in the Daily Comet with public service announcements, and she held meetings at her home where dozens of people attended, including the Humane Society of Louisiana’s director Jeff Dorson.

In 1998, HOPE became a 501c3 non-profit organization.

Chiasson said one of the most cherished aspects of HOPE are the people and volunteers that make all things HOPE does possible.

Debbie Deluane, a native of Thibodaux, said she turned to HOPE after her family cat passed away. Her family has adopted two cats from HOPE.

What Makes HOPE Different?

When an animal is abandoned, it may end up at one of two places: the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter or a rescue like HOPE. Chiasson explained that the Lafourche Parish Animal shelter is government-run and it is a kill shelter when they have to.

Chiasson and current HOPE President Kathy Labat are seen with a smiling pup and his new owner.

Chiasson explained the difference between the local animal shelter and HOPE in only three words by saying, “HOPE is no-kill.” The only times HOPE will ever put an animal down is when it is either too vicious and endangers other animals or it is too sickly to be nursed back to health. At the Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter, an animal will be killed simply if it is not adopted within a certain amount of time.


Melissa Shaddock, a librarian at Thibodaux High School, adopted two cats from HOPE. She said, “Ms. Ruth and the rest of HOPE makes the adoption process incredibly easy. I highly recommend HOPE to all who are looking to adopt a cat or a dog.”